Monday, March 11, 2013

Soumitra Chatterjee makes his singing debut at 80: A tale of undying adventure

“We should go forth on the shortest walk perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return”- Henry D. Thoreau

You do not age as long as your heart is young! The limitations of time & space turn redundant if your mind is kindled with the spirit of undying adventure. Veteran actor of Bengali cinema Mr. Soumitra Chatterjee has proven yet again that age is just a number. At 80, when most men while away their hours lying on the couch and reflecting on the past, Soumitra Da (or Soumitra Sir, as we should address him) has lent his voice for an advertisement campaign for ‘Nutrela’ Kacchi Ghani Mustard Oil.

Decades ago, when Soumitra Da was essaying the now-immortal character of Feluda in the award-winning capers by legendary Satyajit Ray, he would have had no inkling that he would be making his singing debut at the ripe age of 80. This YouTube video showcases an undiscovered and a, hitherto hidden, talent of the iconic legend. Soumitra Da breaks all barriers (including mental hurdles) to foray into the singing world with a soulful rendition of Nutrela’s jingle.

There is a playfulness and an impish, almost childlike, quality in the manner he has sung the song. Perhaps, there is a hint of nostalgia there, or an element of self-discovery. The old, young actor of Bengal explores an unknown, unseen, unheard side of him. This video must have surprised his fans. But more importantly, it would have surprised the great man himself.

Even though, it is just a 2-minute commercial, but the song has scripted a new tale of unending, enduring, everlasting and eternal fervor which the actor possesses in abundance. Many are forging a comparison with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan who has, in the recent past, lent his voice for a few Bollywood songs despite the advancing age. Comparisons between the two legends are inevitable and come as no surprise. But, in hindsight, one must acknowledge that Soumitra sir has done at 80 what Amitabh did at 60.

About the video: The jingle is fun-filled, tuneful and highly infectious. Its melody and Soumitra sir’s cheerful rendition would rub off on you. The actor starts off confidently and even though he keeps enquiring about the tempo (which also reflects his commitment and his yearning for perfection), he breezes through the song with élan, verve & chutzpah. His face is expressive and laced with intermittent chortles & chuckles.
The comments made by the viewers of this YouTube video have been positive. Some have got inspired, some moved, some touched, while some shaken! Indeed, it is hard to repress the flood of emotions when a man so old turns the clock back, and lets the child within take over the rein.

This act is also a naked testimonial of the peerless zeal of an octogenarian; it is a true testament of a tired man’s resurgence; it is a tribute to his own unmatched charisma and it is a master’s stamp of unfinished greatness. It also demonstrates that the man has nothing left to prove. Who knows it may well be his swansong, or just a bare indication of many more to come…..

~Ritesh Agarwal


Oh, now that you have taken the trouble to go through my post, feel free to pen a few words- review, criticism or the much-loved adulation!

Share please

How many stars?