Victor Banerjee


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.

For the past few years, Victor Bannerjee is venturing into Bollywood films and he is also affiliated with the Bengali film industry partially. He is also seen playing character actor roles from time to time in the British cinema. One of the most appreciating works by Victor Bannerjee outside India have been while acting the role of Jesus by director Stephen Pimlott in the 1988 production of the York Mystery Plays.

Victor Bannerjee married Maya Banerjee and when not in Calcutta, he is sure to be relaxing in the hill station of Landour in the Lower Western Himalaya in northern India. He is deeply involved with human rights and labor issues of the film industry. Victor Bannerjee helped form the Screen Extras Union of India and campaigned for the rights of Garhwali farmers. While campaigning for the creation of Uttarakhand in a speech entitled "Uttarakhand: A People Denied", he was credited for starting the movement that ultimately led to the making of the Solidarity Network. Victor Bannerjee is also a well-known name in Indian politics, and was once a parliamentary candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from

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