Soumitra Chatterjee: A Life in Cinema, Theatre, Poetry & Painting by Arjun Sengupta and Partha Mukherjee, and published by Niyogi Books was released virtually on Soumitra Chatterjee’s birth anniversary on 19th January, 2021.
The live session was streamed on Niyogi Books Facebook & YouTube pages, Prabha Khaitan Foundation Facebook & YouTube pages and ABP Digital in the august presence of award-winning film director Mr Goutam Ghose and eminent theatre director Mr Suman Mukhopadhyay, while the session was moderated by well-known writer/director, independent filmmaker and cultural commentator Ms Sangeeta Datta. The authors Mr Arjun Sengupta and Mr Partha Mukherjee, and Director Niyogi Books Ms Trisha De Niyogi were also on board during the release.
Amidst the devastation wreaked by COVID-19 the world over, and the tragic news of Soumitra Chatterjee’s demise, the book authorized by him through a series of interviews to our authors, could not be handed over as the moments slipped by. The book was in the last stage of production when Mr Soumitra Chatterjee was admitted to the hospital.
After the introduction by Ms Trisha De Niyogi, Ms Sangeeta Datta took over the proceedings and invited the guests to say a few words on their experience of working with the late actor.
Mr Goutam Ghosh said ‘Soumitra Chatterjee was one of the last Mohicans of the Bengal Renaissance.’ While Mr Suman Mukhopadhyay observed, ‘I think this book covers a lot of Soumitra Chatterjee’s multi-faceted personality and therefore is an important publication.’
Author Arjun Sengupta said, ‘When sometimes in life things got too difficult Soumitra Chatterjee like the character Kshid da from his film Kony would tell himself to fight. “Fight, Kony, fight!” And isn’t that a wonderful measure of how real he made his characters that the artist could turn to his creation for inspiration. Author Partha Mukherjee reminisced, ‘Soumitra’s portrayals had always been marked by a rare honesty towards his craft.’
Moderating, Ms Sangeeta Datta praised the book by saying, ‘The book is really important because it is in English and will reach out to a lot of readers who may not be Bengali speaking. The book is also relevant for the next generation Bengalis who are not into reading books in Bengali.’
The launch was a very successful one with many online viewers and paid tribute towards Soumitra Chatterjee, celebrating his multi-faceted creative genius and his role in representing Bengal on the world stage.