One of the living legends of Bengali cinema, Soumitra Chatterjee has played a variety of roles and teamed up with Satyajit Ray in most of his films. Born on 19 January, 1935, in Krishnanagar, West Bengal, he completed his Masters in Bengali literature from University of Calcutta. While still a student, he trained as an actor with noted actor-director of Bengali theatre Ahindra Choudhury, and was mentored by theatre director Sisir Bhaduri.
Chatterjee was working as a radio announcer when he was introduced by Ray in in 1959 in Apur Sansar, the final film of the Apu Trilogy, playing the title role of Apu. He went on to work with Ray in fourteen films and this association is hailed as one of the most central ones in the creative life of the film world. Some significant films with Ray include Abhijan (1962), Charulata (1964), Aranyer Din Ratri (1969), Ashani Sanket (1973), Sonar Kella (1974), Joi Baba Felunath (1978), Ghare-Baire (1984) and Ganashatru (1989). He also played a number of intense roles in films directed by Mrinal Sen, Tapan Sinha, Asit Sen, Ajoy Kar and Tarun Mazumdar.
Soumitra Chatterjee has been actively involved in theatre as an actor, playwright and director. He is a well-known poet, and has acted on television as well.
He was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the government of India in 2004. In 2012, he received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in cinema given by the government of India for lifetime achievement. He has won two National Film Awards as an actor, and as an actor in Bengali theatre, he received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1998. In 2014, he received the introductory Filmfare Awards for Best Male Actor (Critics) for his role in Rupkatha Noy, directed by Atanu Ghosh.