Despite performances that mesmerized the world for close to fifty years, Soumitra Chatterjee won his first National Award for Best Actor only in 2006. The film: Podokkhep. The director: Suman Ghosh. It marked the beginning of a professional relationship that resulted in some of the best films of the legendary actor’s final phase. And a personal bonding whereby the veteran thespian went on to become a friend, philosopher and guide to the young film-maker. In Soumitra Chatterjee: A Film-maker Remembers, Suman Ghosh goes down memory lane to provide a fascinating insight into his interactions with the actor. From the time he first met Soumitra Chatterjee on the sets of Goutam Ghose’s Dekha, where Suman was an observer, to creating remarkable cinematic moments in their five films together, to engaging with the actor on numerous addas on myriad subjects, the author paints a remarkable portrait of a relationship. How did Soumitra Chatterjee prepare for his role of an old man who becomes childlike in Podokkhep? What were his inputs that elevated the climaxes of Peace Haven and Basu Poribar? How did Soumitra Chatterjee and Mithun Chakraborty collaborate in Nobel Chor to overcome the problem the director faced with impending rain threatening to upset the day’s schedule? What was a typical adda session with the legend like? What triggered the bizarre idea around a film on death that both wanted to work on but which never materialized? As much a perceptive account of the dynamics of an actor-director association as a story of the friendship between two creative individuals, this is a heart-warming tribute to a legend of Indian cinema.
About the Author
Suman Ghosh is a professor of economics at Florida Atlantic University. He did his BSc with a major in economics from Presidency College, Calcutta. After that he obtained his master’s in economics from the Delhi School of Economics before joining Cornell in 1996, where he did his PhD in economics. He is a National Award-winning film-maker. Films directed by him include Podokkhep, Dwando, Nobel Chor, Shyamal Uncle Turns off the Lights, Kadambari, Peace Haven, Basu Poribar, Searching for Happiness and Aadhaar (forthcoming). He also directed the documentary on Amartya Sen, The Argumentative Indian.