He’s unarguably a living legend of Bengali cinema and one of the most accomplished actors in India. In a six-decade long career, Soumitra Chatterjee has been a prolific stage and film actor, having worked with all leading directors. Discovered and mentored by Satyajit Ray, Soumitra made his big screen debut in the 1959 film Apur Sansar, and went on to work for the auteur in 13 more films and one documentary. These are widely considered to be the actor’s best.
However, there have been an equal number of other Soumitra Chatterjee films that have been critically acclaimed, and are no less popular than the ones made by Ray. Many of them have even attained cult status over time. Here are some of the major non-Ray films where the thespian’s work was hailed as among his best.
1. Jhinder Bandi (1961)
Who can forget Soumitra as the wicked and scheming Mayurvahan is this Tapan Sinha classic. He matched wits against Bengal matinee idol Uttam Kumar. Jhinder Bandi had the two superstars of Bengali cinema sharing frames for the first time together. Adapted from Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay’s historical novel of the same name, the story was based on Anthony Hope’s bestselling 1894 book, The Prisoner of Zenda. At a time when even leading Hollywood actors feared to take up negative roles, Soumitra did that in the fifth film of his career.