Indian actor Soumitra Chatterjee, 85, has died from Covid-19 complications.
The legendary actor was admitted to hospital in Kolkata city on 6 October after he tested positive for the virus.
He will be mourned by fans and critics who avidly followed his six-decade-long career in Bengali language films.
Chatterjee, who starred in more than 300 movies, was also an accomplished playwright, theatre actor and poet.
He tested negative a few weeks after he was admitted to hospital but his condition soon deteriorated and he was put on a ventilator in the last week of October. He died on Sunday morning.
Chatterjee was perhaps best-known for his work with Ray, one of the world’s most influential directors and makers of the much-feted Apu Trilogy. The series followed the life of a man who grew up in a Bengali village. The films garnered critical acclaim, winning many awards worldwide, and put Indian cinema on the global map.
The third movie of the trilogy, Apur Sansar, which released in 1959, was also Chatterjee’s debut film. He would go on to star as the lead actor in 14 of Ray’s films.
Chatterjee was awarded the DadaSaheb Phalke Award, the highest honour in Indian cinema, in 2012 and in 2018, he was given France’s highest award, the Legion of Honour.
He began acting when he was in school, where he starred in several plays.
Outside films, Chatterjee was tirelessly creative: he edited a literary magazine, published more than 30 books of essays and poetry; acted, directed and wrote an equal number of plays; and painted.
One of his most successful plays, Ghatak Bidey, a comedy, ran for 500 nights. Chatterjee acted in a commercially successful Bengali adaptation of King Lear, which many believe was one of his finest performances on stage.
For all his popularity, Chatterjee stayed away from Bollywood, preferring to act in Bengali language films.