ICONIC filmmaker Mrinal Sen, considered one of the founders of India’s parallel cinema with shoe string budget along with Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Tapan Sinha, died on 30 December 2018 at the age of 95 at his Bhawanipore home in South Kolkata. The master director’s legacy include an achieve 27 feature films, 14 short films and four documentaries. They were rivals, but respected each other but never collaborated together in any film project. Ghatak, Satyajit Ray and Tapan Sinha had predeceased him. His spouse Gita Sen expired in 2017. His son Kunal, who resides in the United States with his family, has rushed home. Mrinal Sen born on May 14, 1923, in Faridpur, now in Bangladesh, came to Kolkata to study physics, but was drawn to film-making after reading a book on film aesthetics. He had obtained Masters from the University of Calcutta.He made his debut as a filmmaker with a feature film titled “Raat Bhore” in 1955 starring Uttam Kumar. Uttam Kumar was then considered one of the struggling film actors, not a star. He also gave break Mithun Chakravarty in Mrigaya. He is known for his acclaimed films like “Neel Akasher Neechey” ,, “Baishey Sravan”, “Bhuvan Shome” and “Akaler Sandhane”.He also made films in Oriya, Telgu and Tamil. Apart from winning National Awards, he received the country’s highest film honour, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Condoling his demise, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, doyen of South Indian cinema ,says unlike his contemporary Satyajit Ray, early recognition did not come to Mrinal Sen. With the death of legendary director Mrinal Sen, the country has lost the last of the trinity of Sen, Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak. The Phalke Awardee was never afraid to experiment with the medium, said Gopalkrishnan.“Mrinal Sen was one of the greatest Indian filmmakers. With his demise, we have lost the last of the formidable trinity of Ray, Sen and Ghatak in our cinema. He was a humanist to the core, and a filmmaker par excellence. He was never shy of experimenting with the medium.” Mrinal Sen had to fight to make a name for himself in the film industry. “He (Sen), of course, had to a fight a lone battle to be noticed as opposed to the early recognition that came to Ray in abundance from the beginning,” Gopalkrishna said. “But he never gave up. His films have been greatly inspired by the hapless, and the downtrodden. His concern was for the have-nots and the uprooted.” I am sad to learn of the passing of acclaimed film-maker Mrinal Sen. From Bhuvan Shome to the Calcutta trilogy, his penetrating and sensitive portrayal of social realities made him a fine chronicler of our times. A loss to Bengal, to India and to the world of cinema, says President of India Ram Nath Kovind. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled his death saying she is saddened at the passing away of Mrinal Sen.His demise is a great loss to the film industry. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 10th edition of the Osian’s Cinefest Film Festival 2008.As wikepedi says
“ In many Mrinal Sen movies from Punascha to Mahaprithivi, 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”.The alumnus of Kolkata’s Scottish Church College which was also alma mater for Swami Vivekananda, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Purno Agitok Sangma and many other brilliant Indian, he was drawn to Marxism and became a leading light of the Left leaning Indian People’s Theatre Association -IPTA. But it is not confirmed whether he was a card carrying Communist. As critics assert he was a a Marxist film maker and looked for enemies within the middle class families. He could not avoid being influenced by Marxism which started sweeping Bengali intellectuals after partition of two Bengals in 1947. He was a member of the Jury for the 20th Moscow International Film Festival. The then President of India honoured him by making him a nominated Member of the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament , in 1993 in recognition of his contribution to the cine world.As Mamata Shankar, noted actor, dancer and choreographer says Mrinalda never made a film considering box office collection. The celebrity daughter of Uday Shankar and Amala Shankar’s tribute is appreciable.