Shekhar Chatterjee

Writer

BIOGRAPHY

Shekhar Chatterjee (born c. 1924 in Calcutta) is a Bengali actor and director. Chatterjee began his career in the Bengali theatre in the 1950s. He was associated with a number of leftist theatre groups, including the Communist Partys Indian Peoples Theatre Association, Utpal Dutts Little Theatre Group, and Joan Littlewoods Theatre Workshop, as well as his own group, Theatre Unit, which he formed in 1958. As a stage actor he was well known for his Shakespearean roles and for playing Shardul Singh in Dutts 1965 play Kallol. His directorial work focused on works by German-language playwrights Bertold Brecht, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Peter Handke, and Franz Xaver Kroetz. Chatterjees Brecht productions were rarely adapted to a local setting, and while critics unanimously praised this approach as authentic, his colleague Dutt attacked it for failing to communicate Brechts political symbolism to an Indian audience.Chatterjee was also active in Bengali, Indian, and world cinema, having acted in nearly a hundred films by the time he was sixty. Among his first credited roles was in Agradoots 1955 film noir Sabar Uparey; he later had memorable roles in several of Mrinal Sens films, including Bhuvan Shome, Ek Adhuri Kahani, Chorus, and Mrigayaa. His biggest international role was that of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy in Richard Attenboroughs biographical epic Gandhi. Casting director Dolly Thakore recommended Chatterjee for the role after seeing him onstage in Calcutta and noting that he shared Suhrawardys large stature.In 1983, Chatterjee directed the film Vasundhara, which was awarded Best Bengali Film at the 31st National Film Awards. The Directorate of Film Festivals cited it for its sincere attempt to depict the struggle against social injustice.

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