Somak Mukherjee: Remembering the Painter with a Camera

Calcutta, May 26, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) A condolence meeting in memory of Somak Mukherjee – the remarkably talented cinematographer of Bollywood and Tollywood, who passed away on April 23, 2011 in a fatal road accident near his Bhawanipore residence, was held at the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute on 21st May, 2011 evening.

Though it was a rainy evening, many renowned personalities from the film world attended the meeting and shared their experiences of working with Somak.

The evening opened with screening of a video featuring clippings from his works over the years.

Director Birsa Dasgupta, who was a close friend of the lens-man and one of the chief coordinators of the meeting, said after his death, "When he didn't return home for two days, everyone thought he was vacationing with me in Kaziranga. It was later learnt that he had met with a bike accident and succumbed to injuries on the spot on April 23." Somak’s work was wonderful in Birsa’s film 033. Somak had just completed the shooting of Birsa’s brother Ribhu Dasgupta's "Michael" featuring Nasiruddin Shah and Rudraneel.

Director Suman Mukhopadhyay recalled memories of working with Somak starting from their debut film Herbert and said that he had talked to Somak regarding an upcoming project over telephone on that dark evening. He said ”I am still in disbelief that he is no more”.

Renowned theater personality Debshankar Halder told his memories of interviewing Somak as a trainee actor at Nandikar around 1997-98 and of working with him as co actor in the same group.

Director Raj Chakraborty, who worked with Somak in Le Chakka, Challenge and Dui Prithibi, told regarding Somak’s concept, talent and innovative ideas. He said that he learned a lot regarding technical aspects of film from Somak.

Director Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, who never got the scope to work with Somak, regretted and recalled his close friendship with Somak.

Somak’s father, who saw the accident with his own eyes,  was in a state of shock that evening.

After his death, his friend director Sudipto Chattopadhyay said about Somak’s bonding with him and director Aparna Sen, Reenadi to the film world, "Reenadi (Aparna Sen) is devastated. She treated Somak as her son. He was doing the color correction of Reenadi's Iti Mrinalini when ...this happened. I had discovered the boy at age 20. He was extremely talented. I persuaded him to enroll at the FTII in Pune (Film & Television Institute Of India). I coaxed him into working with Reena-di. He was rapidly on the rise. He had recently done the cinematography of Suman Mukherjee's Herbert and Ribhu Dasgupta's Michael. The world had only just begun to open its arms to Somak. How could he be snatched away so cruelly?'

Somak worked with Sudipto Chattopadhyay in his film “Pankh” featuring Bipasha Basu and was all set to work on Aparna Sen’s yet untitled Hindi directorial debut introducing Hema Malini’s younger daughter Ahana Deol.

He also worked on Pritish Nandy’s Ugly Aur Pagli and Subhash Ghai’s Black and White.

Parambrata, Bidipta, Shiv Mukherjee, Arghya Kamal Mitra among others were also present at SRFTI.

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