Legendary filmmaker and the creator of epoch-making films Mrigaya, Bhuvan Shome and Neel Akasher Neechay passed away on Sunday. He was 95 and was suffering from old-age ailments.
The master director and the last of the quartet — Ritwik Ghatak, Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Tapan Sinha — left for his heavenly abode at 10.35 am leaving behind his son, daughter-in-law and an archive of 27 feature films, 14 short films and four documentaries.
The film maestro is likely to be cremated on January 2 after his Chichago-based son Kunal returns from the US, family sources said, adding the body would till then be preserved at Peace World.
According to his final wishes “his mortal remains will in all probability not be kept anywhere for public viewing. It will be a simple affair and there will be no flowers no wreaths, nothing,” sources said.
The winner of Dadasaheb Phalke and Padma Bhushan, Sen was known for his humanistic approach and his penchant for continuous experimentation apart from his “intense involvement” while directing a film. Born in 1923 at Faridpur in modern Bangladesh, Sen was educated in Physics and graduated from the then Calcutta’s historic Scottish Church College and institution known for its liberal atmosphere and a long inventory of legendary students like Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, PA Sangma and others.
His humanistic approach and a natural bend towards the middle class thought process of his time got him to produce the masterpieces like Bhuvan Shome, Ek Din Achanak, Mrigaya, Khandahar, Antareen, Neel Akasher Neechey, Padatik, Akaler Sandhaney, Kolkata Ekattor — a film relating much to the hoodlum years of the 1960s and 70s and Amar Bhuvan — which dealt with the issues of tolerance and pluralism in today’s segmented society. A director of the Leftist breed he gave superstar Mithun Chakrabarty his break in Mrigaya besides creating a magnificent trilogy in Interview, Kolkata-71 and Padatik depicting the social and political upheaval in Bengal of the 1970s.
Such was his involvement in a film and he was drained out to such extreme that he once said, “After making a film I feel like collapsing, but then I wake up again.” Apart from Bengali and Hindi, Sen also directed films in Telugu, Odiya and Tamil languages. He won a plethora of national and international awards for his films like Bhuban Shome, Baishe Sraban, Mrigaya, Oka Oori Katha Akaler Sandhane, Kharij and Khandahar.
Famous Bengali actor and the hero of Ray films Soumitra Chatterjee said, “In his demise we have lost the last surviving director of that generation about whom you have volumes to say and you have a plenty to learn.”
Reminiscing her association of decades with the master auteur, ballet dancer and actress Mamata Shankar told The Pioneer how he represented a different kind of boldness than the one that was depicted today. “Today they talk of boldness. But many of us do not understand the kind of boldness Mrinalda displayed by making films without considering not only for his economic losses but also for the political consequences.
Remember the age when he was making films.”
True, audaciously experimental in the art of story-telling, Sen evolved a language of his own. He was a rebel who risked alienating the larger audience by doing without the refinement of what they called then the mainstream cinema. Though most of his films were commercial flops they ended up winning accolades and honour for the country from all around the world.
Like Ray and Ghatak, Sen also started making films in 1950s with his first feature film being Raat Bhore. Though this film did not earn him much fame Neel Akasher Neechey in 1959 brought him instant recognition.
His films mostly known for their political undertone won awards in Cannes Film Festival, Berli Film Festival, Moscow International and Tokyo Film Festivals, Chicago Film Festival, Venice Film Festival and also the Montreal World Film Festival. He was also a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha between 2003 and 2009. Read more posts…
Monday, 31 December 2018 | Saugar Sengupta | Kolkata–
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