Mrinal Sen

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Mrinal Sen
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Mrinal Sen
Born(1923-05-14)14 May 1923
Died30 December 2018(2018-12-30) (aged 95) [1]
Nationality Indian
OccupationFilmmaker
Years active1955–2002
Spouse(s)
Gita Sen
(m. 1952;her death 2017)
Awards Padma Bhushan (1983)
Order of Friendship (2000)
Dadasaheb Phalke Award (2003)

Mrinal Sen (also spelled Mrinal Shen; 14 May 1923 – 30 December 2018) was an Indian Bengali filmmaker based in Kolkata. He is considered to be one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century. [2] Like the works of Ray and Ghatak, his cinema was known for its artistic depiction of social reality. Although the three directors shared a healthy rivalry, they were ardent admirers of each other's work, and in so doing, they charted the independent trajectory of parallel cinema, as a counterpoint to the mainstream fare of Hindi cinema in India. Sen was an ardent follower of Marxist philosophy.

Kolkata Capital city of West Bengal, India

Kolkata is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River approximately 75 kilometres (47 mi) west of the border with Bangladesh, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India's oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. The city is widely regarded as the "cultural capital" of India, and is also nicknamed the "City of Joy". According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the seventh most populous city; the city had a population of 4.5 million, while the suburb population brought the total to 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. Recent estimates of Kolkata Metropolitan Area's economy have ranged from $60 to $150 billion making it third most-productive metropolitan area in India, after Mumbai and Delhi.

Bollywood Hindi language film industry

Hindi cinema, often metonymously referred to as Bollywood and formerly known as Bombay cinema, is the Indian Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The term is a portmanteau of "Bombay" and "Hollywood". The industry is related to Tamil film industry (Kollywood), Telugu film industry (Tollywood) and other industries, making up Indian Cinema – the world's largest.

Contents

Early life and education

Sen was born on 14 May 1923, in the town of Faridpur, now in Bangladesh in a Hindu family. After finishing high school there, he left home to come to Calcutta as a student. He studied physics at the well-known Scottish Church College, and subsequently earned a postgraduate degree at the University of Calcutta. As a student, he got involved with the cultural wing of the Communist Party of India. Although he never became a member of the party, his association with the socialist Indian People's Theatre Association brought him close to a number of like-minded culturally associated people.

Faridpur District District in Dhaka Division, Bangladesh

Faridpur is a district in south-central Bangladesh. It is a part of the Dhaka Division. It is bounded by the Padma River to its northeast. The district is named after the municipality of Faridpur. Historically, the town was known as Fatehabad. It was also called Haveli Mahal Fatehabad.

Bangladesh Country in South Asia

Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a sovereign country in South Asia. It shares land borders with India and Myanmar (Burma). The country's maritime territory in the Bay of Bengal is roughly equal to the size of its land area. Bangladesh is the world's eighth most populous country as well as its most densely-populated, to the exclusion of small island nations and city-states. Dhaka is its capital and largest city, followed by Chittagong, which has the country's largest port. Bangladesh forms the largest and easternmost part of the Bengal region. Bangladeshis include people from a range of ethnic groups and religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali language, make up 98% of the population. The politically dominant Bengali Muslims make the nation the world's third largest Muslim-majority country. Islam is the official religion of Bangladesh.

Scottish Church College liberal arts college

Scottish Church College is the oldest continuously running Christian liberal arts and sciences college in India. It has been consistently highly rated (A) by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, an autonomous organization that evaluates academic institutions in India. It is affiliated with the University of Calcutta for degree courses for graduates and postgraduates. It is a selective coeducational institution, known for its high academic standards. Students and alumni call themselves "Caledonians" in the name of the college festival, "Caledonia".

Sen's interest in film making began after he stumbled upon a book on film aesthetics. However, his interest remained mostly intellectual, and he was forced to take up the job of a medical representative, which took him away from Calcutta. This did not last very long, and he came back to the city and eventually took a job as an audio technician in a Calcutta film studio, which launched his film career.

Early films

Mrinal Sen first feature film, Raat Bhore (1955) featured Uttam Kumar who was not yet the Major star of Bengali cinema that he became. The movie was a let-down. His next film, Neel Akasher Neechey (Under the Blue Sky, 1958)), earned him local recognition, while his third film, Baishey Shravan ("The Wedding Day", 1960), was the first film that gave him international exposure.

<i>Raat Bhore</i> 1965 Bengali film directed by Mrinal Sen

Raat Bhore is a 1955 Bengali film directed by Mrinal Sen. This was Sen's first film.

Uttam Kumar Indian actor, director and producer

Uttam Kumar was an Indian film actor, director, producer and singer who predominantly worked in Indian Cinema. Kumar is widely regarded as one of the most popular and beloved actors ever in India. Through his career he earned commercial as well as critical success, and he remains as an Indian cultural icon.

<i>Neel Akasher Neechey</i> 1959 film by Mrinal Sen

Neel Akasher Neechey is a 1958 Bengali language film directed by Mrinal Sen and produced by Hemanta Mukherjee, starring Kali Bannerjee, Manju Dey, Bikash Roy and others.

Sen and new cinema in India

After making five more films, he made a film with a shoestring budget provided by the Government of India. This film, Bhuvan Shome (Mr. Shome, 1969), finally launched him as a major filmmaker, both nationally and internationally. Bhuvan Shome also initiated the "New Cinema" film movement in India. [3]

Government of India Legislative, executive and judiciary powers of India

The Government of India, often abbreviated as GoI, is the union government created by the constitution of India as the legislative, executive and judicial authority of the union of 29 states and seven union territories of a constitutionally democratic republic. It is located in New Delhi, the capital of India.

<i>Bhuvan Shome</i> 1969 film by Mrinal Sen

Bhuvan Shome is a 1969 Indian Hindi-language drama film directed by Mrinal Sen. The cast includes Utpal Dutt and Suhasini Mulay. Sen based his film on a Bengali story by Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay. The film is considered a landmark in modern Indian cinema.

Social context and its political influence

The films that he made next were essentially political, and earned him the reputation as a Marxist artist. [4] This was also the time of large-scale political unrest throughout India. Particularly in and around Calcutta, this period underwent what is now known as the Naxalite movement. This phase was immediately followed by a series of films where he shifted his focus, and instead of looking for enemies outside, he looked for the enemy within his own middle class society. This was arguably his most creative phase.

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country as well as the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Naxalite Left wing political party

A Naxal or Naxalite is a member of any political organisation that claims the legacy of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), founded in Calcutta in 1969. Communist Party of India (Maoist) is the largest existing political group in that lineage today in India.

The middle class is a class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy. The very definition of the term "middle class" is highly political and vigorously contested by various schools of political and economic philosophy. Modern social theorists - and especially economists - have defined and re-defined the term "middle class" in order to serve their particular political ends. The definitions of the term "middle class" therefore are the result of the more- or less-scientific methods used when delineating the parameters of what is and isn't "middle class".

Depiction of Kolkata

In many Mrinal Sen movies from Punascha (1961) to Mahaprithivi (1992), Kolkata features prominently. He has shown Kolkata as a character, and as an inspiration. He has beautifully woven the people, value system, class difference and the roads of the city into his movies and coming of age for Kolkata, his El-Dorado. [5]

Experimentation, recognition and acclaim

During this period, he won a large number of international awards. It could be argued that although his films show the development of ideas from existentialism, surrealism, Marxism, German expressionism, Postmodernism, Nouvelle Vague and Italian neorealism. Sen's cinema for the most part does not provide a happy ending or a definitive conclusion (unlike many of the films of Sen's better known contemporary Satyajit Ray). In many of Sen's later films, the audience becomes a participant in the process of the development of the plot. The director invites and provokes the audience into a shared process of forming multiple conclusions, that are at the same time unique and different. The director does not play the role of god, his audience does. It is not really surprising that unlike Allen who has a steady niche audience in the Western literati and aficionados, Sen's experimentation with parallel cinema had significantly cost him much of a devoted audience composing of largely the Calcutta-based westernized intelligentsia.

In 1982 he was a member of the jury at the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival. [6] In 1983 he was a member of the jury at the 13th Moscow International Film Festival. [7] In 1997 Sen became the member of the jury at the 20th Moscow International Film Festival. [8]

Mrinal Sen never stopped experimenting with his medium. In his later films, he tried to move away from the narrative structure and worked with very thin storylines. After a long gap of eight years, at the age of eighty, he made his last film, Aamaar Bhuvan ("My Land", 2002).

During his career, Mrinal Sen's films have received awards from almost all major film festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Montreal, Chicago, and Cairo. Retrospectives of his films have been shown in almost all major cities of the world. He was also elected as the president of the International Federation of the Film Societies. He received the Taj Enlighten Tareef Award which is given for a lifetime contribution to the world of cinema in 2008. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 10th edition of the Osian's Cinefest Film Festival 2008.

Renowned Norwegian Actress & Director Liv Ullmann Once Said "Mrinal Sen's Films Convey a Cinematic Protest Against Tyranny So Effectively".

Oscar winner director Martin Scorsese took leading steps towards restoration of Mrinal Sen's films . He identified those films as forgotten classics .

Legendary director Satyajit Ray said 'I am feeling jealous , he probably overtakes us' ( Referring himself & Ritwik Ghatak ) when praising after watching Mrinal Sen's 'Oka Oori Katha' .

On 24 July 2012, Sen was not invited to the function organized by West Bengal government to felicitate film personalities from the State. As per reports, his political views are believed to be the reason for his omission from the function. [9]


Death

Sen had been suffering from age related ailments for many years. He died on 30 December 2018 at the age of 95 at his home in Bhawanipore, Kolkata. [10] [11] The cause was a heart attack. [12]

Awards

National awards

National Film Award for Best Feature Film

National Film Award for Second Best Feature Film

National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali

National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu

National Film Award – Special Mention (feature film)

National Film Award for Best Direction

National Film Award for Best Screenplay

Filmfare Awards
Critics Award for Best Film
1976 Mrigayaa
Best Screenplay
1984 Khandhar
Best Director - Bengali
1982 Akaler Shandhaney
Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
2017 Bengali Cinema

International awards

Moscow International Film Festival - Silver Prize
1975 Chorus [13]
1979 Parashuram [14]
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival - Special Jury Prize
1977 Oka Oori Katha
Berlin International Film Festival
Interfilm Award
1979 Parashuram
1981 Akaler Sandhane
Grand Jury Prize [15]
1981 Akaler Sandhane
Cannes Film Festival - Jury Prize
1983 Kharij
Valladolid International Film Festival - Golden Spike
1983 Kharij
Chicago International Film Festival - Gold Hugo
1984 Khandhar
Montreal World Film Festival - Special Prize of the Jury
1984 Khandhar
Venice Film Festival - OCIC Award - Honorable Mention
1989 Ek Din Achanak
Cairo International Film Festival - Silver Pyramid for Best Director
2002 Aamar Bhuban

State and institutional honors

Filmography

Feature films

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References

Notes

  1. Rakesh Sharma (December 30, 2018). "The Dadasaheb Phalke award-winning film director Mrinal Sen Passed away on Sunday at the age of 95". Bollywood Galiyara. BollywoodGaliyara.com. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  2. "Memories from Mrinalda". Rediff. Rediff.com. February 1, 2005. Retrieved January 27, 2010.
  3. Vasudev, Aruna (1986). The New Indian Cinema. Macmillan India. ISBN   0-333-90928-3.
  4. Thorval, Yves (2000). Cinemas of India. Macmillan India. pp. 280–282. ISBN   0-333-93410-5.
  5. "Mrinal Sen movies and Kolkata". Archived from the original on 16 January 2010.
  6. "Berlinale 1982: Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-09-02.
  7. "13th Moscow International Film Festival (1983)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
  8. "20th Moscow International Film Festival (1997)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 22 March 2013. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  9. "Omission of Mrinal Sen from West Bengal film awards triggers controversy". 25 July 2012.
  10. "Bengali filmmaker Mrinal Sen dies at 95" . Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  11. Rakesh Sharma (December 30, 2018). "The Dadasaheb Phalke award-winning film director Mrinal Sen Passed away on Sunday at the age of 95". Bollywood Galiyara. BollywoodGaliyara.com. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  12. "Mrinal Sen, legendary filmmaker and Phalke awardee, passes away at 95". Indian Express. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  13. "9th Moscow International Film Festival (1975)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  14. "11th Moscow International Film Festival (1979)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  15. "Berlinale 1981: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-08-22.
  16. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  17. The International Who's Who 2004
  18. Stellar Publishers
  19. "51st National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals . Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  20. "Annual Convocation". University of Calcutta. Archived from the original on 28 May 2012.
  21. "Academy invites record 774 new members; 39 percent female, 30 percent people color". Hollywood Reporter. 29 June 2017. Retrieved 29 June 2017.