"What have I done to deserve accolades"`
In another recognition of his contribution to the world of films, drama and poetry, this year's Dadasaheb Phalke recipient Soumitra Chatterjee was felicitated by a leading business group.
Stating that he was overwhelmed by the ecstatic response of the people in the wake of his receiving the Dadasaheb Phalke, Soumitra said, "I sometimes wonder what great have I done to deserve such accolades, such warmth and such unalloyed happiness. This feeling humbles me and I feel it is not me but my people who are in fact being honoured."
The 77-year-old actor was felicitated by the Sahara group here last night. "I have been receiving many felicitations for the past several days. I remember shooting for Goutam Ghosh's film in Purple Town (filmcity) when I got the news... In fact Mrinalda (Mrinal Sen) had called me up two days back and intimated but asked not to let out the news early.
"I am usually not very moved at this age since I have acted in over 400 films and have a 53-year old career. But I am amazed at the happiness of most of the Bengalis and others afterwards. I feel humbled," Soumitra said on receipt of the honour from the business group owner Subrata Roy.
"I sometimes ponder if it would not have been better had I been born in some colonies of Africa and worked among the underprivileged sans the prying eyes of media, fame and glory. What I have done to deserve all these praise and honour!"
Subrata, in his address to the veteran actor said, "What should I call you? Sir Soumitra Chattopadhyay, the one who has lead Bengali cinema for several decades. You have said Bengalis are emotional and passionate. Yes, we are turning emotional, we turned emotional on hearing the news of your honour. You have made us all proud."
The award, consisting a plaque, a silver sword, a silver trophy and a citation was a small tribute to the institution like Soumitra who has made the country proud by his versatile acting in films and on stage, a favourite of both maestro Satyajit Ray and theatre doyen Sisir Bhaduri, the business baron said in his speech.
Making his movie debut in Ray's masterpiece "Apur Sansar (The World of Apu)" - the third part of the Apu Trilogy - in 1959 - Soumitra became an integral part of Bengali cinema with films like "Sonar Kella", "Jai Baba Felunath", "Charulata", "Ghare Baire", "Ashani Sanket", "Devi", "Abhijan", "Aranyer Din Ratri" and "Ganashatru".
The felicitation ceremony was attended by prominent celebrities from the fields of cinema, sports, politics and arts. Celebrated filmmakers Anjan Dutta and Srijit Mukherjee 'saluted' the 'thinking man's actor as a video clip, spanning Soumitra's illustrious career in both off-beat and popular entertainers was screened, with Goutam Ghosh describing him as the 'director's actor'.
The Sahara group also paid Rs 11 lakh to a trust for films in Bengal, which is headed by leading names from Tollygunje film industry. PTI