West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, and leading authors and intellectuals condoled the death of noted Bengali writer Suchitra Bhattacharya, saying her passing away has left a big void in the world of literature.
Bhattacharya died at 10:45pm at her south Kolkata residence on Tuesday night, following a cardiac arrest. Her body was consigned to flames at the Keoratala crematorium on Wednesday.
"I convey my profound grief on the sudden demise of eminent Bengali novelist Suchitra Bhattacharya. She was at the front rank among contemporary writers," said Banerjee.
National Award-winning filmmaker Goutam Ghose said, "I am shocked and saddened. She had a lot more to give in terms of writing. Her writings were a reflection of time."
One of the most popular and powerful novelists of contemporary Bengali literature, Bhattacharya, 65, dwelt on contemporary social issues, mainly affecting the urban middle class which she analysed with an open mind, almost putting the reader before a mirror. Her pen also highlighted the sufferings of women in contemporary society, and brought out the decadence in the moral fibre in an era of globalisation and crass commercialism.
"I am very sad at her untimely demise. I used to meet her often. She always put on her best behaviour," said actor Soumitra Chatterjee.
Poet Subodh Sarkar hailed her as a 'reader-friendly' author. "Her writings brought her close to her readers. She was always smiling and affable," Sarkar said, adding her loss has left a huge void in the world of literature. Actor-director Aparna Sen said she understood the psyche of the middle class, while painter Samir Aich lauded her zeal to 'fight hand-in-hand' with activists and intellectuals against social evils.
Born on January 10, 1950, she wrote around 24 novels and composed a large number of short stories. Her novel Dahan (Charred) dissected the trauma, social ostracism and helplessness of a rape victim and was made into a memorable film of the same name by the late Rituparno Ghosh.
Among her other novels are Kachher Manush (Close to Me), Kacher Dewal (Wall of Glass), Hemonter Pakhi (Bird of Autumn), Aleek Shukh (Heavenly happiness) and Gabhir Asukh (A Grave Illness).
Suchitra received the Nanjanaguda Thirumalamba National Award (1996), Katha Award (1997), Tarashankar Award (2000), Sharat Puroshkar (2002), besides the Bharat Nirman Award, Sahitya Setu Award and the Shailajananda Smriti Puroshkar.