Victor Banerjee is an Indian actor who appears in English, Hindi, Bengali and Assamese language films. He has worked for directors such as Roman Polanski, James Ivory, Sir David Lean, Jerry London, Ronald Neame, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal, Montazur Rahman Akbar and Ram Gopal Varma.
Banerjee was born in a Zamindari Bengali Hindu family. He is a descendant of the Raja Bahadur of Chanchal (Malda District) and the Raja of Uttarpara.
Education; personal life
Banerjee completed his schooling from St. Edmund’s School, Shillong. He did his graduation in English literature from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta; and completed his post graduation in Comparative Literature from Jadavpur University.
He turned down a scholarship to Trinity College in Dublin, which had offered to him, through the Irish Christian Brothers, to admit him as an operatic tenor. He was the lead tenor in the Calcutta Light Opera Group production of The Desert Song, and also played Jesus in Bombay Theatre’s first ever musical production, Godspell.
He has a daughter who is a VFX supervisor.
In 1984, Banerjee portrayed Dr. Aziz Ahmed in David Lean’s film of A Passage to India, bringing him to the attention of western audiences. He was nominated for a BAFTA award for the role in 1986, and won the Evening Standard British Film Award and NBR Award (National Board Review, USA) for it. In April 1985, at a special event in Louisiana where John Travolta and Loretta Swit were also honoured, Banerjee received the “Show-a-Rama Award” from the Motion Picture Association of America as “New International Star”.
He acted in Merchant Ivory Productions Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie’s Pictures, Satyajit Ray’s Shatranj Ke Khilari and Ghare Baire and in Mrinal Sen’s Mahaprithivi. On the set of Gunday starring Priyanka Chopra, Mr. Banerjee has said that he feels “all work is a challenge and therefore fun”.
Though has been involved with Bollywood in recent years, Banerjee is primarily affiliated with the Bengali film industry. He also plays character roles from time to time in the British cinema.
He was also cast in the critically acclaimed role of “Jesus” in the 1988 production of the York Mystery Plays, by director Steven Pimlott.
Banerjee is the only person in India who has won the National Award in three categories: As a cinematographer, for his documentary Where No Journeys End (which, in competition with 3100 entries from 27 countries, also won the Gold Award at the Houston International Film Festival); as a director, for his documentary The Splendour of Garhwal and Roopkund; and as an actor (Best Supporting Actor) for his work in Satyajit Ray’s Ghare Baire.