Early Years of Sabitri Chatterjee
Sabitri Chatterjee was born on 22nd February 1937 in Comilla, in British India (now in Bangladesh). She was the youngest in the family of ten daughters and her father, Sashadhar Chatterjee was a stationmaster in the Indian Railways. When the riots broke out after the Partition of India, the young Sabitri was sent to a safe abode to his married sister's house in Kolkata located at Tollygunge, the hub of Bengali film industry. There, she saw the movie stars shooting at the famed New Theatres Studios. From there her immense interest of acting in films grew. Sabitri Chatterjee and her family had to fight against extreme poverty during her childhood days. Eventually, she started to work as a junior artiste and when she was in class ten, she caught the eye of the great comic actor Bhanu Banerjee and joined the theatre group named ‘Uttar Sarathi’ to learn the nits and grits of acting. Here she played some significant plays and received critical praise for its resolute realism and fantastic performances.
Career of Sabitri Chatterjee
Sabitri's histrionic talents portrayed during the rehearsals of ‘Natun Yahudi’ caught the eye of Binu Bardhan, a member of ‘Uttar Sarathi’ who also was the assistant to the film-director Sudhir Mukherjee. Bardhan and Bhanu Bannerjee recommended Sabitri Chatterjee to appear for the screen test for the film ‘Pasher Bari’ (1952). Sabitri Chatterjee got the role of the female lead in this comedy film, which turned out to be a huge hit with her unrestrained style and her comic timing.
Sabitri Chatterjee's next film was ‘Subhada’ (1952) by Niren Lahiri. Here she was featured along with the stalwarts like Chhabi Biswas and Pahari Sanyal. In the same year, she appeared in her first film opposite the legendary actor Uttam Kumar in the family drama ‘Basu Parivar’ (1952) directed by Nirmal Dey. Sabitri Chatterjee and Uttam Kumar had been close friends since 1951. He was highly impressed by her acting abilities and offered her to act in a theatrical production of his group ‘Krishti O Srishti’. The Uttam-Sabitri duo very soon became a favourite of the Bengali cine-goers. They did a series of memorable films including, ‘Lakh Taka’ (1953), ‘Anupama’ (1954), ‘Kalyani’ (1954), ‘Raikamal’ (1955), ‘Nabojanma’ (1956), ‘Punar Milan’ (1957), ‘Marutirtha Hinglaj’ (1959), ‘Raja-Saja’ (1960), ‘Dui Bhai’ (1961), ‘Bhranti Bilas’ (1963), ‘Momer Alo’ (1964) and ‘Nishipadma’ (1970).
In the film ‘Anupama’ Uttam Kumar's association with Sabitri encompassed both romantic and the comic genres. ‘Bhranti Bilas’ and ‘Dhanyi Meye’ are some of the best Bengali comedy cinema. The film ‘Marutirtha Hinglaj’ saw Sabitri Chatterjee's spellbinding performance. Sabitri Chatterjee continued with her glittering career during the 1970's, doing several films like ‘Shanti’ (1970), ‘Putuler Ma’ (1973), ‘Shila’ (1970), ‘Pratinidhi’ (1964, ‘Mantramugdha’ (1970), ‘Malyadaan’ (1971), ‘Sesh Parba’ (1972), ‘Seyi Chokh’ (1976), ‘Brajabuli’ (1979) and so on. In the early 1980s, Sabitri Chatterjee did not appear on screen as before. However, in the late 1980s, she came back with films like ‘Mamoni’ (1986), ‘Anandalok’ (1988) and ‘Haar-Jeet’ (2000) etc. She continues to act in characteristic mother and older women roles in commercial Bengali films till date. Sabitri Chatterjee was one of the stars of the mega soap opera ‘Sonar Harin’ that has had a run of more than 1000 episodes. Sabitri Chatterjee has also gained immense popularity for her role in the popular Bengali daily soap ‘Subarnalata’, which was broadcasted from 2010 to 2012 in Zee Bangla channel. ‘Subarnalata’ is an adaptation of Ashapurna Devi's novel.
Filmography of Sabitri Chatterjee
Sabitri Chatterjee acted in several Bengali cinemas, which are enlisted below:
Television Career of Sabitri Chatterjee
Sabitri Chatterjee, along with Bengali cinemas, has worked in numerous Bengali serials in different roles as well. The TV shows of her are provided below:
Recognitions to Sabitri Chatterjee
Sabitri Chatterjee has been honoured with several recognitions including: