Soumitra Chatterjee in a still from the film 'Ahalya'. Photograph: (Others)
Thespian actor Soumitra Chatterjee has been conferred with the highest French civlian honour, the Legion d'Honneur.
"I am happy and it is a great honour. I got the letter from the French Embassy yesterday and they said they will be coming over here to give me the award. I communicated to them that we will decide on a mutually convenient date," Chatterjee told PTI.
The 82-year-old veteran actor, who is getting the honour 30 years after legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray's Legion d'Honneur, said, "No comparisons can be drawn between me and Manikda (as Ray is fondly called by his followers). He is a titan and I am nowhere near him."
"But yes it makes me happy that I am also getting the same honour which was given to Manikda," he added.
The actor first worked with Satyajit Ray in "Apur Sansar" in 1959, the third part of the Apu trilogy.
He had also worked in Satyajit Ray's "Abhijan" (1962), "Charulata" (1964), "Aranyer Din Ratri" (1969), "Ashani Sanket" (1973), "Sonar Kella" (1974), "Joi Baba Felunath" (1978), "Ghare Baire" (1984) and "Ganashatru" (1989).
Congratulating the legend, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, "From "Apur Sansar" to Legion d Honour. The legendary Shri Soumitra Chattopadhyay, hallmark of Indian and Bengali cinema. A tribute and honour to the great actor of Bengali cinema by France. This makes us very proud. Congratulations. (sic)"
Others from the Bengali film fraternity also congratulated Soumitra Chatterjee.
Prosenjit Chatterjee tweeted:
Soumitra Kaku u r a true inspiration..Pronam for #Legion of honour..2nd person from our industry after Ray to b honoured..Respect 👏👏— Prosenjit Chatterjee (@prosenjitbumba) June 10, 2017
Director Atanu Ghosh, who has directed Soumitra Chatterjee in several films, wrote:
Members of Satyajit Ray's family expressed delight over the news.
"We got the news yesterday. And it is a matter of pride that he is getting the honour 30 years after father," they said.
Soumitra Chatterjee has previously been conferred with the Commandeur de l Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Frances highest award for artistes and is the recipient of the Dadasaheb Phalke Award which is Indias highest award in cinema.