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Aparajito's Apu dies

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By Staff Reporter
  • Published 12.07.08

Smaran Ghosal, who played the teenaged Apu in Satyajit Ray’s Aparajito, died of cardiac failure at his south Calcutta residence on Thursday night. He was 64. Ghosal is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Ghosal was all of 14 when Ray picked him to be the young Apu, who goes to the city in search of a livelihood, in the second part of the Apu trilogy. Ghosal faced the camera for the second time when Ray cast him as the young bard in his documentary film Rabindranath Tagore.

But for the rest of his life, “Apu” maintained a distance from the arclights.

Soumitra Chatterjee, the Apu in Apur Sansar, said: “I had met Ghosal once or twice during the making of Aparajito. Whatever I saw of him was in the film, where he has left a lasting impression as an actor. Years later I met him again while writing an article on his uncle, the artist Chittaprasad.”

Soumendu Ray, the assistant cinematographer in Aparajito, remembers Ghosal as a young man. “He came from a sophisticated family but he picked up the modest ways of Apu well and acted spontaneously. After Aparajito, Ghosal did only one more film, Rabindranath Tagore.”

A wildlife and nature enthusiast, Ghosal ran a travel agency from his 10 Meher Ali Road residence. “He lived with his wife and several pet dogs,” said friend and neighbour Kamal Sengupta.

As the secretary of South Calcutta Rifle Club, Ghosal was also involved in promoting rifle shooting as a sport.