“Not a day goes by, since his death in 1992 that I do not remember Manik Da (Satyajit Ray),” screen legend Soumitra Chatterjee said on Saturday, reacting to the news of being chosen for France’s highest civilian award, the coveted Legion of Honour.
The award comes to the octogenarian Bengali screen legend exactly 30 years after Satyajit Ray got the honour. Ray was awarded the Legion of Honour by then French President Francois Mitterrand in 1987.
“There must be something in my work that is being appreciated outside the country. As a Bengali, I feel proud of this achievement,” said Mr. Chatterjee, who was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 2011 for his contribution to cinema.
Mr. Chatterjee said Satyajit Ray remains an inspiration to him. Mr. Chatterjee had worked in 14 of Ray’s films including the Apu trilogy, Charulata and has also played the role of Feluda , the iconic detective in the film Sonar Kella .
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also expressed her happiness upon hearing the news. “From Apu Sansar to Legion d Honour. The legendary Shri Soumitra Chattopadhay, hallmark of Indian and Bengali cinema. A tribute and honour to the great actor of Bengali cinema by France. This makes us very proud. Congratulations,” the Chief Minister tweeted.
Sagnik Chatterjee, a filmmaker who has made an acclaimed documentary on Feluda , said that even though it is a personal honour to Soumitra Chatterjee, the Bengali film industry could take pride in it.
“This honour would make many to strive for such greatness,” he said.