Subhendu Chatterjee (29 November 1936 – 5 July 2007) was an Indian actor of television and films in Bengali. A contemporary of late Bengali matinee idol Uttam Kumar and actor Soumitra Chatterjee, with whom he played second hero in many films, Chatterjee with age had graduated into character roles.
His father was Shailendra Chattopadhay and mother Manimala Devi. In 1953, he was admitted into Calcutta Medical College. In 1960, he completed his M.B.B.S. and became a doctor. He worked in Civil Defence and later joined Kolkata Municipal Corporation.
He was involved with amateur theatre under the tutelage of Jnanesh Mukherjee, a stalwart of Bengali theatre and films, and started trying his luck on the silver screen. He was involved with the IPTA. The elder of his two sons, is the Bengali actor Saswata Chatterjee and the other based in USA.
He started his film career with Mrinal Sen’s Akash Kusum in 1965. He was appreciated for his restrained portrayal of the honest friend who would fail to prevent his go-getting friend (played by Soumitra Chatterjee) from the path of falsehood which would lead to utter humiliation. He worked with Satyajit Ray in Chiriyakhana where he first shared the screen with Uttam Kumar, and then with the versatile Soumitra in Aranyer Din Ratri (1969) that brought national and international fame. He is mostly remembered for his portrayal of Sankar inChowringhee in 1968 where alongside the matinee idol (Uttam Kumar), he carved his niche as the straight and compassionate apprentice of a five-star hotel on the brink of changing ownership. He then starred as the leading character in Hansa Mithun (1968), Panchasar (1968), Arogya Niketon (1969), Nayikar Bhumikay, ” Anindita “, together with playing second lead in Chaddabeshi (1972), and “Ekhoni” and the protagonist in ” Bhanu Goenda Jahar Assistant “. ” Pratham Kadam Phool”, ” Kuheli”, ” Kaach Kata Hire”, Aandhar Periye”, ” Bigolito Karuna Jahnabi Yamuna”, ” Jibon Rahasya”, ” Bahurupi”, Amrito Kumbher Sandhane, ” Ganasatru”, ” Lal Darwajaa” are some of his noteworthy movies.
By the time,he acted with the legendary Uttam Kumar in Chowringhee and Chaddabeshi, he was already a heartthrob with his tall, dark, handsome, and intelligent looks. He acted in the sequel of Aranyer Din Ratri, directed by Gautam Ghose: Abar Aranye in 2003.
Recipient of many awards, Chatterjee also was a successful stage actor and the play “Bilkish Begum” staged during the 1980s was a super hit. He also played a very prominent role in the play ” Amar Kantak” which also ran many nights. He acted in a number of tele-films as well; one in which he excelled was as Dr. Munshi in “Dr. Munshi’s diary” based on a short story by Satyajit Ray. He was a very good singer as well and cut a disc on composition of Hemanta Mukhopadhyay.
One of his recent films was “Abar Arannya” (Again in Forest), a sequel to Ray’s “Arannyer Dinratri” made by Goutam Ghosh a few years ago.
He died from respiratory tract complications.The Bengali film industry went into a state of mourning as the news of his death spread.
“He was my best friend and a great actor. He was always there by me in my times of trouble. We were a family. He was a good doctor too,” said Bengali comedian Chinmoy Roy as he broke down.
He is one of the ever-remembered personalities of the Bengal celluloid.
Anandalok Award – Best Actor for Lal Darja in 1998