India's legendary thespian Soumitra Chatterjee, who acted in over 300 regional Bengali films in a career spanning six decades, died at a private hospital in the eastern city of Kolkata on Sunday. He was 85.
The veteran actor passed away in the afternoon, following a multi-organ failure, more than a month after contracting Covid-19. "We declare with heavy heart that Shri Soumitra Chattopadhyay breathed his last at 12.15 pm (IST) at Belle Vue Clinic today (15 November 2020). We pay our homage to his soul," the hospital said in an official statement.
In fact, Chatterjee had been undergoing treatment at the hospital since October 6 after testing positive for coronavirus a day before. Though his condition had initially improved after receiving plasma therapy, it started worsening as days passed. Some 24 hours before announcing his death, the hospital said that the actor's condition was "very, very serious".
From Indian President Ram Nath Kovind to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and eminent Bengali film personalities, everyone expressed their condolences.
"Soumitra Chatterjee’s performances won him several national and international awards including Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Padma Bhushan and Légion d’Honneur. Condolences to his family, the film fraternity and millions of fans across the world," the Indian President tweeted.
Modi also took to Twitter to express his grief. " Shri Soumitra Chatterjee’s death is a colossal loss to the world of cinema, cultural life of West Bengal and India. Through his works, he came to embody Bengali sensibilities, emotions and ethos. Anguished by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers."
In a series of tweets, Chief Minister Banerjee said, "Farewell, Soumitra (Da) Chatterjee. He has been a legend in his lifetime. International, Indian and Bengali cinema has lost a giant. We will miss him dearly. The film world in Bengal has been orphaned." She also said that the actor would be cremated with full honours and a gun-salute.
Leading Bengali filmmaker and actress Aparna Sen said he had been devastated by the legendary actor's death. "I still can't believe that he is no longer with us. I had hoped till the last that a miracle would happen," she told the media. Sen had marked her debut opposite Chatterjee in 'Teen Kanya' film.
Chatterjee was the favourite of India's Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray. He made his debut with Ray's Apur Sansar (Apu's Family) in 1959. He went on to act in 14 more of Ray's films, including masterpieces like Devi, Charulata, Ghare Baire and Feluda, a detective.
"Satyajit Ray made me what I am today. Had the director not been a great artist like Satyajit Ray, I wouldn't have been able to perform so well," Chatterjee had said in an interview.
The actor's last big film was Sanjhbati in 2019. Apart from acting, he also directed and acted in plays and penned poetry. In 2001, he had turned down a state award for best actor to protest against what he called the "bias" of the awards committee.
Chatterjee got India's top film honour, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, in 2012. He also won three National Awards and the Legion of Honour by France, the European country's top civilian award. In 1989, Satyajit Ray got the same award.
The legendary actor is survived by wife Deepa Chatterjee, daughter Poulomi Basu and son Sougata Chatterjee.
Today is the 72nd birth anniversary of legendary writer, author, lyricist, academician, screenwriter, playwright and filmmaker Humayun Ahmed.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Humayun's birth anniversary is being celebrated by admirers and various organisations with limited programmes and virtual arrangements.
One of the most influential Bengali writers of modern time, Humayun Ahmed (November 13, 1948 – July 19, 2012) is often credited with revitalising Bengali literature and best known for his ‘magic-realism’ based writing.
Making his breakthrough with debut novel Nondito Noroke (1972), Humayun wrote over 200 fiction and non-fiction books, all of which were bestsellers in Bangladesh and are still popular among his readers. His books were the top sellers at the Ekushey Book Fair during the 1990s and 2000s.
He received Ekushey Padak, Bangla Academy Award, Lekhak Shibir Award, Shishu Academy Award, Michael Madhusudan Padak, Bachsas Award and many more, for his outstanding contributions to the Bengali culture and entertainment sphere.
As a successful content-maker in television, Humayun debuted with his drama 'Prothom Prohor' (1983) for Bangladesh Television (BTV). His successful journey in television continued with popular drama serials 'Ei Shob Din Ratri', 'Bohubrihi', 'Ayomoy', 'Nokkhotrer Raat', 'Aaj Robibar' and most notably, 'Kothao Keu Nei'.
Humayun Ahmed also explored success as a filmmaker in the early 1990s and went on to make a total of eight films in his filmmaking career, each based on his own novels. Two of his films, 'Syamol Chhaya' (2004) and 'Ghetuputra Komola' (2012) were the official Bangladeshi submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in their respective years.
He received seven Bangladesh National Film Awards in different categories for the films 'Shonkhonil Karagar' (as screenwriter), 'Aguner Poroshmoni', 'Daruchini Dwip' and 'Ghetuputra Komola'.
Commemorating his life and legacy, family members and different organisations along with his admirers are set to observe his birth anniversary today.
Actress and Humayun Ahmed’s widow Meher Afroz Shaon, along with their sons, is going to place floral wreaths on his grave at Nuhashpalli, Gazipur in the morning.
Himu Paribahan, a noted fanbase group of the eminent writer, has been observing his birth anniversary for many years - however, due to the COVID-19 situation this year, the group has announced two-day special arrangements, including awareness processions, special Facebook live sessions, online magazine-sketch publications and documentary presentations.
Ten members of the organisation will hold a special procession on cancer and COVID-19 awareness at several places in the city including TSC, Suhrawardy Udyan, Ramna Park and Dhanmondi Lake. The Facebook page of Himu Paribahan will also stream a live music show, featuring Humayun Ahmed’s popular songs. It will also stream a live discussion programme on its Facebook page and unveil a special online magazine pdf on Saturday.
Young writer and journalist Hasan Shawon’s first book Humayunke Niye will be published today under the banner of Avayaa Limited. Satire magazine Unmad editor and renowned cartoonist Ahsan Habib, also the youngest brother of Humayun Ahmed, has illustrated the cover art and wrote the foreword.
Different TV channels, online platforms and radio stations will pay tribute to Humayun Ahmed airing special programmes throughout the day.
Meanwhile, the EXIM Bank-Anyadin Humayun Ahmed Literary Award 2020 was presented among the recipients at Bangla Academy on Thursday.
Prominent writer Hasnat Abdul Hye and young writer Nahida Nahid received this year’s award in two categories. They received crests and cash honorariums of Tk 5 lakh and Tk 1 lakh respectively.
Presided by thespian and former Minister of Cultural Affairs Asaduzzaman Noor, the award ceremony was joined by State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid as the chief guest.
Anyadin magazine editor Mazharul Islam, EXIM Bank CEO and Managing Director Mohammed Haider Ali Miah and Humayun's widow, actress Meher Afroz Shaon also spoke on the occasion.
Since 2015, the ceremony has been held annually on November 12, the day before the eminent litterateur's birth anniversary.
Minerva, known as one of the top tier heavy metal and groove metal bands in the country, premiered a new song ‘Doitto’ and its music video on its YouTube channel last Friday, that marked a glorious comeback of the band after 6 years and has been admired by its fans on social media since the release.
The band went into a long hiatus after its ground-breaking debut album ‘Biday Shongbidhan’ in 2013, and for the fans who adored Minerva for revolting against the norms and taboo reigning over the society through going an extra mile to abolish the shackles - Minerva believes that ‘Doitto’ is a continuation of the motto.
“Pitted against flawed societal pressure, learning to rise above criticism and facing that inner demon before it consumes our existence - ‘Doitto’ is about finding your voice against hate,” Minerva explained the song via a press release.
Since the release, fans and admirers have shared nostalgic reactions on Facebook, welcoming the band with the comeback song. Ashrafuzzaman Yousufi, the vocal of popular rock band Arbovirus, wrote - “What a comeback!”
Porosh, a longtime fan of the band, wrote, ”After 6 years, they are back. As a fanboy I expected it to be a lot heavier. Massive changes in the sound. The riff was catchy but nothing like the old Minerva. Nevertheless, the band’s back. That’s what matters. Change is good I guess”.
Explaining the long hiatus, the band explained - “Indeed, with 6 long years in between ‘Doitto’ and our penultimate number ‘Ganitik Shomikoron’, the band members have gone through tonality alterations of their own. Regardless, ideologically we are the same Minerva as before and after an unannounced hiatus due to the band members shifting abroad for higher studies, Minerva is finally back with a single that sounds fresher than ever. And this time, we are back for good and won’t disappoint our fans.”
Partnered by BBMFC, Hanger 18 and Back Page PR, the music video for ‘Doitto’ is sponsored by KrayonMag and is created by Rongmistry House.
Fans can watch the music video of ‘Doitto’ on Minerva’s official YouTube channel and the song is available to stream with synced lyrics on GAAN app.
ZEE5 Global, the largest OTT platform for South Asian content, on Monday released its first Bangladeshi original “Mainkar Chipay.”
Directed by Abrar Athar, the short film is a situational thriller and dark comedy starring Afran Nisho, Sariful Razz, and Shamol Mawla.
The movie showcases Nisho in an entirely new avatar who puts Sariful, an addict, and Shamol, a peddler, between a rock and a hard place.
The film has an entertaining and intense storyline which also shows how drugs can lead people into a deadly trap. It was completed in just four days across four locations during the lockdown.
Apart from having an interesting script and extremely quirky characters, the film has been given a unique treatment using camera lenses from the ‘60s to create an indie retro look.
“All the characters have a strong presence and it was important to treat the movie with a minimalistic approach to bring out their nuances. ‘Mainkar Chipay’ is not just an entertaining thriller, it is also a story about not falling prey to addictions that make you weak and lead you into difficult, no-win situations,” said Abrar.
Afran Nisho said, “All three characters are strongly defined and quite different from one another. I’ve played this kind of character for the first time.”
Sariful Razz said, “I’m thrilled that audiences around the world, especially younger ones, will get to experience this dark yet relatable movie.”
The film rightly captures things that can go wrong when one gives in to their addictions, said Shamol.
The 40-minute movie is co-presented by Godrej Household Products and can be watched for free on the ZEE5 app, and also on www.zee5.com.
“Mainkar Chipay” is the first of four Bangladeshi originals that ZEE5 Global will launch over the next few months, with more content in the pipeline, reads a press release.
Notable reactions to the death of “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek:
“Alex wasn’t just the best ever at what he did. He was also a lovely and deeply decent man, and I’m grateful for every minute I got to spend with him ... Thinking today about his family and his Jeopardy! family — which, in a way, included millions of us.” — “Jeopardy!” contestant Ken Jennings on Twitter.
“So saddened to hear Alex Trebek has died. It was an honor to share the dinner hour with him. He fought his cancer battle valiantly,” — ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir on Twitter.
“It was one of the great privileges of my life to spend time with this courageous man while he fought the battle of his life. You will never be replaced in our hearts, Alex,” — “Jeopardy!” contestant James Holzhauer on Twitter.
“Alex Trebek was kind enough to film a cameo for our film Free Guy last year despite his battle. He was gracious and funny. In addition to being curious, stalwart, generous, reassuring and of course, Canadian. We love you, Alex. And always will,” — Actor Ryan Reynolds on Twitter.
“We mourn the loss of #alextrebek — a friend, a colleague, an icon. He graced us with warmth, wit & pure elegance, which is why we welcomed him into our homes night after night, year after year. We are deeply saddened for his wife Jean, his family & millions of Jeopardy fans,” — Walt Disney Co. executive chairman Robert Iger on Twitter.
“My heart breaks for the Trebek family upon hearing this heartbreaking news. Alex Trebek was a legend. There was no one like him. Kind, elegant, talented, good. Heaven just became brighter and we here on earth mourn him,” — Maria Shriver on Twitter.
“I was obsessed with Jeopardy as a nerdy kid growing up in Ohio. I’ve loved and revered Alex Trebek since I can remember. What an iconic career. RIP Alex Trebek,” — Musician John Legend on Twitter.
“We have lost an icon. Almost every night for more than three decades, Alex Trebek entertained and educated millions around the world, instilling in so many of us a love for trivia. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and all who are mourning this tremendous loss,” — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter.
“Couldn’t we have one nice weekend? A kind gentleman whose excellence was so consistent, it was easy to take for granted. Rest well, Mr. Trebek,” — Jimmy Kimmel on Twitter.
“RIP Alex Trebek. A true, true gentleman and courageous hero. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest,” —Actor Viola Davis on Twitter.
“I’m so saddened that Alex Trebek has passed. Growing up, he made me feel like my nerdiness was valuable and I loved learning from watching jeopardy. It was our family’s nightly pleasure,” — TV personality and author Padma Lakshmi on Twitter.
“Alex Trebek hosted Jeopardy for 36 years. What an incredible career and remarkable life. I’m sending love to his family and fans.” — Comedian Ellen DeGeneres on Twitter.
“I am overwhelmed with emotion right now and my heart goes out to the Trebek family,” — “Jeopardy!” contestant Burt Thakur on Twitter.
“I’m honored to have known Alex Trebek, have a few meals with him, have him share some of his wisdom. On the @TCM cruise, he got me to swim w/ the dolphins. No one else could’ve done that. He was the best at what he did,” — TCM host Ben Mankiewicz on Twitter.
“Alex Trebek, you brought us so much knowledge, both important and fun, through the years. Your final battle with cancer was heroic, and we are heartbroken that it has taken you from us. I’ll take ‘Great TV Personas of Our Time’ for $800. The heavens have all the answers now,” — Actor George Takei on Twitter.