What I recall my father (Goutam Chatterjee, Uttam Kumar’s son) telling me about the chemistry between my grandfather and Suchitra Sen on screen is that they shared a weird romance off screen. It wasn’t physical but way more than that. ‘Metaphysical’ probably would be the right word to use. They not only enjoyed each other’s company on and off screen but also respected each other.
I’ve even heard of their little ego. That she would take a little more remuneration than him for a film they both were a part of. Once my father was drinking and telling me stories about them... like one day, after pack-up, they both had gone for a long drive, they stopped the car somewhere on the outskirts of the city and shared a moment which wasn’t physical or verbal. They probably enjoyed the sound of silence and came back. I absolutely have no clue if at all this happened or for that matter how my father knew about it. But I remember him telling me when I was really small.
Another thing that I have heard from my father is that they were really good friends. They actually cared about each other. Uttam Kumar apparently made sure that in all their films the name of Mrs Sen would appear before his. I think these things come from deep respect for a person. I guess the understanding that they had off screen is what made their chemistry so strong and awesome on screen.
Last but not the least, they both have been the greatest-looking couple in Bangla cinema till date. She is the first Bengali woman I fell in love with.
Gourab, an actor, is the grandson of Uttam Kumar