Soumitra Chatterjee presented Legion d'Honneur

Highlights:

  • Legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee was on Tuesday presented France's highest civilian award, Legion d'Honneur at a function here.
  • French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler presented the medal to the versatile octogenarian, who has delved into multiple cultural genres. 
  • Apart from his chief vocation of acting, he has also dabbled in painting, composed poems, written and directed plays, edited a Bengali magazine and is also a much-acclaimed elocutionist.
  • He also recalled that in 1990 Chatterjee acted in Satyajit Ray directed "Sakha Prosakha", which was an Indo-French production.
  • In 1999, Chatterjee became the first Indian actor to receive the 'Officier des Arts et Metiers', the highest award for arts given by the French government.
  • He has also been the subject of a full-length documentary named "Gaach" by French film director Catherine Berge.
  • In his short acceptance speech, Chatterjee said he was "honoured, and privileged".
  • In 1987, auteur Satyajit Ray was honoured with the coveted Legion d'Honneur by then French President Francois Mitterand during his visit to Kolkata (at that time called Calcutta).
  • Chatterjee is arguably the most prominent face of Ray's films, and the director's most favoured actor.
  • Making his movie debut in Ray's masterpiece "Apur Sansar" (the world of Apu) - the third part of the Apu Trilogy - in 1959, Chatter jee has acted in over 90 films till date.
  • He is a recipient of the country's third highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan (2004) and India's highest award in cinema Dadasaheb Phalke (2012).