Due to generation gap, young generation comes across a person whom they cannot relate to. But, when they get to know about that person, a sense of respect automatically emanates inside their head. Victor Banerjee is one such figure for the younger generation. A proud Hindu, Victor Banerjee is going to receive the third-highest civilian award in India, Padma Bhushan.
A Bengali by birth and by heart
Victor was born in Calcutta to a reputed Bengali family. His lineage has descended from the legacy of Raja Bahadur of Chanchal and the Raja of Uttarpara. Victor completed his school from Shillong’s St. Edmund’s School.
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Victor pursued his bachelors degree in English Literature from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta. Later he pursued his masters in comparative literature from Jadavpur University.
Feelings on Screen
Deep down, Victor had a penchant for the portrayal of literature on screen. This is the reason, why he was involved in theatre. Famously, he played the role of Jesus in Bombay Theatre’s first-ever musical production, Godspell. He was also the lead tenor in musical The Desert Song, produced by Calcutta Light Opera Group.
Victor Banerjee’s Hollywood journey
Victor’s first rise to fame as an actor came from the west. In 1984, Banerjee came to the attention of the audience after his portrayal of Dr Aziz Ahmed in David Lean‘s film A Passage to India. For his role, Victor was nominated for the famous BAFTA award in 1986. Later, he won the Evening Standard British Film Award and NBR Award (National Board Review)
In 1984, he got an opportunity to work with one of the finest Indian filmakers, Satyajit Ray. His acting in Satyajit Ray’s movie Ghare Baire, made him win the National award for his role.
Despite belonging to the Bengali film industry, Victor has worked with a wide array of filmmakers. James Ivory, Shyam Benegal, Jerry London, Ronald Neame, Mrinal Sen, Montazur Rahman Akbar, Ram Gopal Verma are some of the most famous names he has worked with. Gunday is his last famous movie.
Victor’s versatile brilliance can be gauged from the fact that he is the only person to win three national awards in India under three different categories, cinematography, direction and acting.
No qualms in criticising Mulayam Singh Yadav
Apart from movies, Victor has also tried his luck in politics. Amidst Lal Krishna Advani’s Rath Yatra in the country, Victor made his foray into politics in the 1991 Lok Sabha elections. Unfortunately, he secured third position in Calcutta North West seat. He had contested the seat with the Lotus symbol.
Victor is well-known for his unequivocal support for the nation as well as Ram Mandir. At the time, when speaking against Mulayam Singh Yadav was considered by many as blasphemy, Victor had shown no hesitancy in criticising Samajwadi Party leader.
Read more: The much-delayed tribute to martyred Karsevaks
On Mulayam Singh Yadav’s suggestions to shot the Karsevaks for Ram Mandir, Victor said, “Watching unarmed teenagers waving saffron flags euphorically from the top of the masjid being shot like sitting ducks and their lifeless bodies tumbling to the ground, said nothing for a civilization that I am tired of being called ancient and invulnerable.”
Read more: Countless Karsevaks massacred in Ayodhya’s 1990 firing incident: Republic Bharat
Called Sidhu a Joker
In October 2021, Victor was probably the only individual from the movie industry to speak against Navjot Singh Sidhu’s bonhomie with Pakistan. Calling Sidhu a joker, he had said, “Sidhu, whom I privately politely tolerated as a farcical joker with Bollywood aspirations upto now, is a disgrace to the great Sikh people who have, for centuries, sacrificed thousands of lives for Hindustan, for India.”
Read more: Navjot Singh Sidhu lets India down in Pakistan
Victor’s life is an inspiration for everyone living their life for a cause. He is committed to acting yet he has never shown any inclination for illogical liberalism cutting through the industry.
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