Soumitra Chatterjee, an eminent Bengali actor, received the coveted Legion of Honour, France’s highest civilian award on 30th January, 2018. In an event attended by the who’s who of Bengali film and cultural fraternity, French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler presented the medal to the versatile octogenarian.
Soumitra Chatterjee apart from his chief interest for acting, has also tried his hands in painting, composed poems, written and directed plays, edited a Bengali magazine and is also a much-acclaimed elocutionist.
Congratulating the state actor West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted, “From Apu Sansar to Legion d Honour. The legendary Shri Soumitra Chattopadhay, 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”.
In his speech, Ziegler said the award was being given in recognition of the veteran actor’s remarkable career, his outstanding contribution in promoting Indian cinema in France and his long-standing attraction “for our country”. He also recalled that in 1990 Chatterjee acted in Satyajit Ray’s “Sakha Prosakha”, which was an Indo-French production.In 1999, he became the first Indian actor to receive the ‘Officier des Arts et Metiers’, the highest award for arts given by the French government.