NITN | @notintownlive | 01 Feb 2018
Kolkata, Jan 31 (NITN): Legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee on Tuesday was conferred at a function here the Legion of Honours, the highest French civilian distinction, by Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France to India.
Chatterjee received the award almost 30 years after iconic Indian filmmaker late Satyajit Ray was conferred the honour.
Dressed in complete Bengali attire, Chatterjee was present along with his family to receive the award.
With utmost modesty, the actor said he is "overwhelmed" to receive the honour.
He said: "I don't know what to say. All I can say is I am honoured and privileged and this particular evening is so overwhelming for me. I will carry the remembrance of this evening in my heart as long as I live."
Recalling his memory of early days, Chatterjee said: "I have been student of literature therefore my first association with France was through its glorious and magnificent literature and later on when I got interested in cinema, the French cinema and also the great painters particularly the impressionists have fascinated me all along."
"I recall all these only to remember what amount of bond we have with France. Therefore coming from a country like France, this honour simply overwhelms me. I don't know what I have done to deserve this but I will honour it throughout my life and I pledge to do as much as I can to enhance it," the veteran actor added.
One of the most nostalgic moments for the actor perhaps was when he stood beside the projector which was used in the shooting of Satyajit Ray's Apur Sansar, the debut film of Chatterjee.
Chatterjee has worked in 14 films of Ray. He has acted in more than 200 Indian films and even now he plays some integral parts in several Bengali movies.
He has received Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which is the highest Indian award for films.
Conferring the title upon Chatterjee, Ziegler said: "It is an honour and privilege to confer the honour on Chatterjee. You (Chatterjee) are simply most famous and respected Bengali actor. You (Chatterjee) are the very prototype of Bengali gentleman."
"You (Chatterjee) continue to exude remarkable energy and sail and flagging passion for all your many activities even at this age. France loves you as much you love France."
Senior Tollywood actress, Rituparna Sengupta, who has shared screen space with Chatterjee in few films, said it is a proud moment for all. "I thank all intellectuals of France and French Embassy for conferring the honour on Chatterjee," she said.
"The journey with Chatterjee has always been special. His love, contribution in my career is completely different," Rituparna told IBNS.
recently shared screen space with Chatterjee in Bela Seshe and Praktan. She will also be seen with Chatterjee in an upcoming Bengali film. Basu Parivar.
Lauding the legend, actor Parambrata Chatterjee said: "I am feeling proud because I know him. I think this evening will always be remembered by me. I feel nice to see a person who has knowledge not only in acting but in diverse fields getting an honour like this."
(Reporting by Souvik Ghosh, images by Avishek Mitra)
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