Legendary Indian thespian Soumitra Chatterjee's wife Deepa died at a private hospital in the eastern city of Kolkata on Sunday, within five months of each other. She was 82.
Deepa, also a Bengali actress and director and a former state champion in badminton, passed away at Colombia Asia Hospital in the early hours of Sunday. She had been suffering from age-related ailments.
Like her husband, Deepa began working in the Bengali film industry at a very young age. The couple had, in fact, met at a movie set and fell in love before tying the knot.
Her most prominent work is Bilambita Lay in 1970, in which Deepa played a lead role opposite late Bengali film superstar Uttam Kumar. She also acted in several other famous movies and TV shows.
Soumitra, who acted in over 300 regional Bengali films in a career spanning six decades, passed away at the age of 85 in November last year following a multi-organ failure, a month after contracting Covid-19.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had described Soumitra's death as "a colossal loss to the world of cinema, cultural life of West Bengal and India".
Soumitra was the favourite of India's Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray. He made his debut with Satyajit's Apur Sansar (Apu's Family) in 1959. He went on to act in 14 more of the iconic director's films, including masterpieces like Devi, Charulata, Ghare Baire and Feluda, a detective.
"Satyajit Ray made me what I am today. Had the director not been a great artist like Satyajit Ray, I wouldn't have been able to perform so well," Soumitra once said in an interview.
The actor's last big film was Sanjhbati in 2019. Apart from acting, he also directed and acted in plays and penned poetry.
Soumitra got India's top film honour, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, in 2012. He also won three National Awards and the Legion of Honour by France, the European country's top civilian award.
The couple is survived by their daughter Poulomi Basu, also a film director, and son Sougata Chatterjee.