October 15, 1946
Actor, Director, Union official, Shipping clerk
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Sensitive Indian actor in several films by Satyajit Ray and best known for his finely calibrated performance opposite Judy Davis in David Lean's "A Passage to India" (1984). Banerjee began his career on the Calcutta stage as a child actor and appeared frequently in amateur theatrical productions. After attending university, he was introduced to director Satyajit Ray who, recalling Banerjee's earlier stage work, offered him a part in "The Chess Players" (1977), an uneven historical drama about colonial Indian politics. It was the beginning of a long association in which Banerjee starred in such Ray films as the short "Pikoo's Day" (1981) and "Home and the World" (1984).Though Banerjee began working in Western films with the James Ivory comedy "Hullabaloo Over Georgia and Bonnie's Pictures" (1979) opposite Peggy Ashcroft, it was the pivotal role of Dr. Aziz in "A Passage To India" (1984) that marked a turning point in his career. He next starred in the English comedy "Foreign Body" (1986) as a shy clerk who poses as a London physician, and then was cast by Roman Polanski in his dark comedy "Bitter Moon" (1994) as Mr. Sikh, a benign patriarch who personified family values. Though Banerjee works in the West, he remains active in the Indian film industry, frequently working in Bengali art cinema.