Soumitra Chatterjee is an Indian actor who was born in West Bengal, India on 19th January, 1935. He is the most internationally recognized Bengali actor, mostly due to his much collaboration with Satyajit Ray, the great Indian director.
Soumitra schooled at Scottish Church College of the University of Calcutta. He graduated with honors in Bengali literature. His film debut was in Apur Sansar (The World of Apu), which was directed by Satyajit Ray, in 1959. This is what made Soumitra be a favorite of many cinema goers. Soumitra would then go on to work with Satyajit Ray on 14 films, some of the most popular being Sonar Kella, Charulata, Samapti, Ghare Baire among others. Apart from Satyajit Ray, he also worked with other Indian directors like Tapan Sinha and Mrinal Sen.
Soumitra has been active in Bengali theater as a playwright, actor and director. He is known for his poetry recitals and has also acted on TV in jatra (native folk drama).
Soumitra has bagged many awards and honors during his career. The French government awarded him the 'Officier des Arts et Metiers', the highest art award from the government. He also got a lifetime achievement award from Italy. In the 1970’s, he rejected the Padma Shri award from the Indian government. The French director Catherine Berge made a documentary about Soumitra entitled “Tree”.
On 9th June, 2008, he received the 2007 National Film Award for Best Actor from the Indian government. Soumitra also recently received the “Padma Bhushan” by the President of India.