Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee will receive the 2011 Dada Saheb Phalke Award for lifetime contribution to cinema.
Soon after the National Award, the government announced four front runners for the coveted honour— Pran, Manoj Kumar, Vyjayanthimala and Soumitra Chatterjee. The jury members finally decided that the greatest honour should go to the Bengali actor this year.
Chatterjee, 77, who has won a National Award in 2008 for his film Podokkhep, is an iconic actor in Bengali cinema with a career spanning over half a century.
He has worked alongside most of the stalwarts of the industry and some of the best directors of the country, which includes Satyajit Ray. Apur Sansar, Devi, Teen Kanya, Abhijan, Sonar Kella and Joy Baba Felunath are some of the films he shot with Ray.
The living legend has been conferred the ‘Officier des Arts et Metiers’, the highest award for arts given by the French government, and a lifetime achievement award from Italy earlier.
After the announcement of the award, Derek O’Brien, who is a quizmaster and also a Member of Parliament (Trinamool Congress) from Bengal tweeted: Legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee gets Dadasaheb Phalke Award #thrilled for his family incl his son Saugato, my classmate in school #bengal.
The Dada Saheb Phalke Award is the highest honour in Indian cinema given annually by the Government of India for lifetime contribution. And Soumitra Chatterjee is the much deserved winner.