Gita De - no more...!!!

Gita De was born in Kolkata on August 5th, 1931. Her father was Anadi Mitra and mother Renuka Mitra. Due to family reasons she could not continue her studies after eighth standard.
When she was only 6, her acting career started in Nityaniketan Theatre. She used to take her musical lessons from Radharani Devi who introduced her to commercial theatre.

She started her professional stage career in Sree Rangan Theatre and there after she joined Natya Bharati.
Gita Dey an accomplished veteran actor in Bengali film, theatre and jatra. Acted in numerous films, Dey is known for immortalising the character acting with her versatile acting aptitude that even caught the attention of the legendary Lawrence Olivier.
Dey, who acted in nearly 200 films since her debut in 1937 as a child artiste in the Bengali film 'Ahutee' directed by Dhiren Ganguly, was admitted to a north Kolkata medical facility early last month due to old age ailments. She passed away at about 0020 hours and is survived by two sons and daughter.
Gita Dey had been residing in a shabby quarter at 5 Wards Institution Street (Manicktala) in north Kolkata.
She had her stint with Tollygunge film industry since 1938.
She acted in both the theatre and cinema right up to the age of 14. Her marriage at the age of 15 to Ashim Kumar Dey, a businessman at Taltala, stalled her acting career for a while. After five years of marital bliss, she returned to the world of show biz. She came in touch with the veteran of the Bengali stage Sisir Bhaduri. He took the young star under his fold.
The last play she acted in was 'Baadshaahi Chaal' in 1996 directed by Ganesh Mukherjee staged at Ragana in north Kolkata.
Gita Dey, specialised in character role, acted with all artistes and under acclaimed directors including Ritwick Ghatak, Debaki Kumar Bose and Satyajit Ray.
Some of her movies are 'Meghe Dhaka Tara', 'Sat Paakey Bandha', 'Nauka Dubi (Shipwreck)' and 'Malyadaan', 'Abhaya Srikanto', 'Jaya', 'Nishipada', 'Dui Bhai', 'Ahoban',
Barnochora', 'Pita Putro' and 'Mouchak' among others.
Gita Dey had worked practically with most of the mainstream and off-beat directors of Bengal except Mrinal Sen, Rajen Tarafdar and Mangal Chakravorty. Her long association with All India Radio (AIR) since 1954 came in the shape of her regular assignment as actress in radio plays with which she was involved until recently.
In a career spanning more than six decades, she has acted in 200 Bengali films and two to three thousand plays.
In 1988, she received from the then West Bengal Governor Narul Hasan, a star medal on behalf of the Calcutta University for her lifetime performances.
Equally confident in both the negative and comic roles, Dey was brilliant in the role of torn and scheming mother in Ritwik Ghatak's Meghe Dhaka Tara.[1] Though ailing, she has kept on acting and kept wowing the audience in the recent flicks like 'Tollylights' and 'Chirodiner.... With her passing away on 17th of January,2011 Bengali film industry lost one of it's shining star.
Among her other films where she exhibited immense acting power, were: Ajker Nayak, Parineeta, Prathom Pratisruti, Haar mana haar, Bindur Chheley, Marjina Abdallah, Nishipadma, Sreekanter Will, Manjori Opera and the very recent blockbuster Chirodini tumi je amaar; where she played the role of Priyanka's (Pallabi) grand-mother!

I knew her for the last 2o years, and as she was a great devotee of Paramahansa Ramakrishna Deb, and I ebing associated with Ramakrishna Mission's cultural programmes singing Shyamasangeet and other Devotional songs, Gita Pishi (as I used to call her) insisted that I sing for at least 5 to 6 Shyamasangeet, sitting atop her neatly made bed in her Maniktala home, whenever I paid her a visit!

People like them cannot be measured in mere words or obituaries; we are so unfortunate, that we have to silently drink our tears observing the passing away of great souls like Gita De, Rama Prasad Banik, Suchitra Mitra and now the legendary singer Pintu Bhattacharya (I got the news while writing this article) into all in a row...what a year this 2011 is!!

May their soul rest in peace!