Director and ad filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar was quite influenced by Soumitra Chatterjee's subdued portrayal of Shekhar in Parineeta, and in fact, thinks very highly of the veteran actor.
He's especially pleased that Chatterjee has been awarded the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke award.
He tells Patcy N why Chatterjee deserves it.
I am a big fan of Satyajit Ray's movies, and Soumitra Chatterjee acted in most of them. So I've watched most of his movies, even the ones he did later.
Soumitrada acted in Ajoy Kor's Parineeta in which he played Shekhar. I was influenced quite a lot by his role when I was writing Parineeta.
Soumitra played the character as very subdued man, who was strong inside. Watching Soumitra in Parineeta was not the reason I made my Parineeta but his portrayal of Shekhar did influence the way I wrote my Shekhar.
Ray used to choose people, who could be moulded into the characters. Soumitra was one such actor that moulded into any character very well. Because of his working with Ray, every time you saw him on the screen, he looked like a different person.
He is a simple human being. He has this very gentle smile, which is not fake. People find it easy to love and respect him. That sweetness was there in Apu in Apur Sansar and several other characters he has played.
I made an advertisement for Cadbury's with him and Vidya (Balan) in Bengali. It was fantastic working with him. He knows the camera so well; he understands the medium obviously, as he has been working for such a long time.
He knows all the nuances, gestures and movements.
Every time he smiles, it is genuine, and straight from his heart. It was a learning experience working with him. He is a very nice, loving, and genuine person.
Awards usually come late in life. I think if he was awarded at the time he did most of his work, it would have been nice. But, finally, he has got it and it is fantastic.