Anil Chatterji – the towering actor of Bengali cinema.
Anil Chatterji, on of the towering actors of Bengali cinema had performed in dynamic roles both in the realistic films of Satyajit Ray, Hrithik Ghatak, at the same time had performed in commercial films opposite Uttam Kumar. He played the role of Post Master to perfection in Ray’s film Teen Kanya based on Tagore’s literature. He reached the depth of the character to understand the feelings of as teenage girl who used to work for the post master in a remote village of West Bengal who attached herself with him and when he got transferred became sad and continued with her solitary life in the remote village.
He surprised Tragedy King Dilip Kumar in the Bengali and hindi version of the film Sagina Mahato directed by Tapan Sinha. Dilip Kumar was a union leader who understood the pulse of the northeastern people and became their leader but Anil Chatterji used him for the enhancement of popularity of his own party and after the goal was fulfilled he made him a villain in the eyes of the same people ho made him the leader.
In Hrithik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara, Anil Chatterji, acted as a singer who had faced the pains of partition of Bengal during India’s independence and lived a tragic life. Is sister played by Supriya Chowdhury worked as a teacher and fed the family. Anil Chatterji struggled hard and got success in classical music in the frag end of the film but by that time his sister got infected with tuberculosis and he could not save her life. He displayed the compassionate shades of character and showed his observation in life and displayed the helplessness of a victim of partition.
He played the role of Deshbandhu CR Das in a historical film and was appreciated for his spirited performance. He also acted as a police officer in Shakti Samanta’s successful film Amanush, in both the bengali and hindi version where Uttam Kumar was the leading actor and when required Anil Chatterji even whipped Uttam Kumar to transform his character.
It is difficult to mention the contribution of legendary actor like Anil Chatterji in a small article as his films Komol Gandhar, Mahanagar, Ami Se O Sakha, Nirjan Saikate are milestones of Bengali films, and had Soumitra Chatterji not got the accolade of a powerful character actor in realistic films, Anil Chatterji could have been portrayed as strong competitor of Uttam Kumar, the greatest superstar of bengali cinema. His films should be restored and preserved.