Mrinal Sen – The Last of the Triumvirate


Mrinal Sen

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           January 03, 2019           06.30 P.M. 

Mrinal Sen

[ 14 May 1923 – 30 December 2018 ]

Mrinal Sen was a Bengali filmmaker based in Kolkata. Along with his contemporaries Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, he was often considered to be one of the greatest ambassadors of Bengali parallel cinema on the global stage. Like the works of Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, his cinema was known for its artistic depiction of social reality. The three directors 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.

Minal 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  [ 1958) ] earned him local recognition, while his third film, Baishey Shravan [ 1960 ] was the first film that gave him international exposure.

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

Mrinal 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.

 

Funeral Procession of Mrinal Sen

I came to know about him when his film Bhuvan Shome [ 1969 ] was released. It was the year when I just finished intermediate from Government Inter College , Allahabad [ now PRAYAGRAJ ] and took admission in Allahabad University. I was curious about the film but I could not watch it. I became aware of Mrinal Sen because of the buzz around the film.

Poster of BHUVAN SHOME

After  Bhuvan Shome , other gems like Interview [ 1971 ] , Ek Adhuri Kahani  [ 1971 ] , Calcutta 71  [ 1972 ] , Padatik [ 1973 ] , Chorus [ 1974 ] and Mrigayaa [ 1976 ] were released in quick succession.

 

Poster of MRIGAYAA

Mrigayaa [ 1976 ] became talk of the town . It introduced a naxalite as the protagonist. His name was Mithun Chakraborty. He got national award for the best actor for the film and soon became a sensation and later on came to be known as poor man’s Amitabh Bachchan.

Mrinal Sen was an ardent follower of Marxist philosophy. This is precisely the reason , I avoided watching his films. Till date I have watched none of his films . Neither Bhuvan Shome nor even Mrigayaa .

After his demise , I am thinking of watching all his films. List of awards , which his films won , tell us about his craft and his greatness.

 

National awards

National Film Award for Best Feature Film

National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali

National Film Award for Best Direction

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

 

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On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my condolences and tribute. It is sad that because of the aversion of Marxism , I refrained from watching his films .

[ Basic information about Mrinal Sen has been taken from Wikipedia . His photo posted here is from Google,  I express gratitude .]

VIDUR

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Khushwant Singh : The Man In Bulb


img_8024

 

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           APRIL 02, 2014           00.15 A.M.

Khushwant Singh's Iconic Image on Editor's Page of The Illustrated Weekly of India

Khushwant Singh’s Iconic Image on Editor’s Page of The Illustrated Weekly of India

This obituary is a much delayed blog post . I wanted to write it immediately after sad demise of Shri Khushwant Singh ji . He died on March 20, 2014 at the age of 99 . But due to work pressure of my acting institute , I was , unfortunately , not able to do that .

Khushwant Singh : In The Winter of His Life

Khushwant Singh : In The Winter of His Life

I came to know about him in 1969  . In my life , 1967 is a watershed year . I left Deoria , my home town in Uttar Pradesh and landed in Allahabad for higher studies . In the hostel of Government Inter College , Allahabad , I was introduced to new horizons , unknown vistas and leading Indian luminaries .

In 1969 , after completing intermediate , I took admission in Allahabad University . I started living in Sir Ganga Nath Jha Hostel . There I got to know about Khushwant Singh , who shot into fame because of the unprecedented success of   The Illustrated Weekly of India  . In the reading room of my hostel , for the first time , I had a chance to glance the above mentioned weekly magazine . A bearded Sardar ji sitting in a light bulb with volumes of books , bottles of booze and photos of buxom beauties , attracted my attention . I read his editorial page week after week and became a life – long fan . As I started knowing  him more , my admiration for him grew .

Khushwant Singh I Know

Khushwant Singh , I Know

Just look at the startling facts of his fascinating life :

+  In 1938 he started his professional career as a practising lawyer . He worked at Lahore Court for eight years.

+ In 1947 he entered Indian Foreign Service . He started as Information Officer of the Government of India in Toronto, Canada . He was Press Attaché and Public Officer for the Indian High Commission for four years in London and Ottawa .

+ In 1951 he joined the All India Radio as a journalist .

+ Between 1954 and 1956 he worked in Department of Mass Communication of UNESCO at Paris .

+ From 1956 he turned editor. He had edited Yojana , an Indian government journal ; The Illustrated Weekly of India , a newsweekly ; and two major Indian newspapers , The National Herald and the Hindustan Times . During his tenure, The Illustrated Weekly became India’s pre-eminent newsweekly, with its circulation raising from 65,000 to 400000 .

I still have some old , dog – eared and pale copies of  The Illustrated Weekly of India   in the study of my Deoria house . I felt sad , when I read that one day on 25 July 1978 , a week before he was to retire, the management asked him to leave ” with immediate effect ” . He was the editor of the magazine for 9 years , from 1969 to 1978 precisely . The circulation rose to 4,00,000 from the previous 65,000 . After his departure it plummeted again .

I read that he woke up at 4.00 AM each day to write his columns by hand . His works ranged from political commentary and contemporary satire to translations of Sikh religious texts and Urdu poetry . He also wrote his highly popular column  ” With Malice Towards One and All “ regularly . It was widely syndicated in all the famous news papers .

Collage of Books

Books of Khushwant Singh :

Short story collections

  • The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories. London, Saturn Press, 1950.
  • The Voice of God and Other Stories. Bombay, Jaico, 1957.
  • A Bride for the Sahib and Other Stories. New Delhi, Hind, 1967.
  • Black Jasmine. Bombay, Jaico, 1971
  • The Collected Stories. N.p., Ravi Dayal, 1989.
  • The Portrait of a Lady
  • The Strain
  • Success Mantra
  • A Love Affair In London
  • ना काहू से दोस्‍ती ना काहू से बैर

Play

Television Documentary: Third World—Free Press (also presenter; Third Eye series), 1983 (UK).

 

Book - 1

I am his admirer and shall always be that , till I am alive . It is strange that he attracted large number of people , who became life – long fan . Though he was a Gandhi – Nehru sympathiser , still he had my unflinching admiration . Even Shri Lal Krishna Advani is an admirer , whom he vehemently criticized for his role in Ram Janma Bhoomi Movement of Ayodhya .

Shri Lal Krishna Advani - A Lifelong Admirer

Shri Lal Krishna Advani – A Lifelong Admirer

It is strange , as well as unique . I am baffled and amazed .

 

Vidur Acting Institute Logo

FACEBOOK main

On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I offer my condolences to the family and legions of admirers of Khushwant Singh ji.

VIDUR Editing Studio , and VIDUR Club also pray for the departed soul .

May you REST IN PEACE Sir ! I , a believer and idol worshipper , will always miss an unapologetic atheist and crusader iconoclast like you .

 

[ Acknowledgment : I have taken some facts of his life and information about his books from Wikipedia . I have copied the list from Wikipedia and posted it here . Expressing gratitude . ]

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60 Years of Film ” Aan ”


2

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 07 , 2012           11.40 P.M.

Yesterday after posting my blog about Baiju Bawra , I started thinking about the other memorable films of 1952 . I suddenly remembered aboutAan ” , the most successful film of 1952 . In terms of box office returns ” Baiju Bawra “ was second to “Aan “ . Therefore I thought that I should introduce a new category named ” Down The Memory Lane ” under the parent category ” Film ” and start writing about the other films of 1952 .

” Aan “ was produced and directed by legendary Mehboob Khan and it starred Dilip Kumar , Prem Nath , Nimmi and Nadira , who made her debut with this film . This lavishly mounted costume – drama was music director Naushad’s another hit in 1952 apart from ” Baiju Bawra ” .

” Aan ”  is India’s first Technicolor film and was the highest grosser of 1952 . Just like ” Baiju Bawra “ , I watched it in Allahabad during my Government Inter College days . Frankly speaking I didn’t like “Aan “ , when I watched it for the first time . I liked the songs of the film and the swashbuckling hero Dilip Kumar , but not the film . I couldn’t fathom death of Nimmi and the story line , where Dilip Kumar ignored her and went for Nadira , who was playing the princess .

Later on after repeated viewing and after knowing the fact that the story – line of “Aan “ was based on Shakespeare’s ” Taming of The Shrew ” , I came to realize that this swashbuckling hero is bound to go for the princess and not for the village damsel Nimmi , I was able to appreciate the story – line and finally the film .

“Aan “ has several memorable songs . Lyrics of Shakeel Badayuni were set to tune by Naushad . My eternal favourite even today is a Lata Mangeshkar gem ” Tujhe Kho Diya Humne Paane Ke Baad , Teri Yaad Aayi Tere Jaane Ke Baad ………………. ” . It has several other Mohammad Rafi gems like ; ” Maan Mera Ehsaan …………. ” , ” Dil Men Chhupa Ke Pyaar Ka Toofaan Le Chale ……………. ” , ” Mohabbat Choome Jinke Haath ……………. ” and ” Takra Gaya Tumse Dil Hi To Hai ………….. ” . But “Aan “ will always be remembered for its lavishly mounted Holi song picturization . The song ” Khelo Rang Hamare Sang Aaj Din Rang Rangeela Aaya ……….. “ is still popular and was lavishly picturized with hundreds of junior artistes . It has some of the hits of Shamshad Begum also . Most famous is ” Aag Lagi Tan Man Men Dil Ko Pada Thamna …………….. ” .

Incidentally ” Daag ” and ” Sangdil “ were other Dilip Kumar hits of 1952 . But I will write about them later .

As I have stated in my previous blog , as an acting trainer , its my job to make my students aware of these iconic films and I do it regularly in my acting class in Mumbai .

I strive to make it a regular feature in my acting school Vidur’s Kreating Charakters .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

www.vidur.co.in

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60 Years of Film ” Baiju Bawra “


2

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           DECEMBER 06 , 2012           11.30 P.M.

Today sitting in the office of my acting institute in Mumbai , I was going through some old issues of Screen . Suddenly I saw an article and came to know that the iconic filmBaiju Bawra is now 60 years old . It was released in 1952 . It is the same year when I was born .

Baiju Bawra (1952 film)

Baiju Bawra (1952 film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

When I started following Hindi film songs in 1967 , I heard some of the songs of the film ” Baiju Bawra ” . In 1967 during my High School days , I didn’t know either Meena Kumari or Bharat Bhushan , the protagonists of ” Baiju Bawra ” . I was not even aware of Naushad or Shakeel Badayuni also , who gave music and wrote lyrics of the film respectively . I simply knew Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi , the singers of the film .

After passing High School from the Government Inter College , Deoria , I went to Government Inter College , Allahabad for intermediate in July 1967 . It was in Allahabad that I started following films religiously . There I watched ” Baiju Bawra “ and became aware of Meena Kumari and Bharat Bhushan . I became aware of the legendary status of Naushad and about the good work of lyricist Shakeel Badayuni .

Earlier I had heard the songs of ” Baiju Bawra “ but after watching the film , I started appreciating them in a more positive way . Mohammad Rafi’s ” O Duniya Ke Rakhwale ……… ” and ” Man Tadpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj ……….. “ were my favourites and they still have same sway over me . They are my perennial favourites . ” Tu Ganga Ki Mauj , Main Jamuna Ka Dhara ……….. “ is hugely popular even today .

 

Meena Kumari

Meena Kumari (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Meena Kumari and Bharat Bhushan were not stars when this film was made with them . Naushad , Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi were the only known names and they were the only stars of this non – star cast film . Music of the film was hit and is still remembered by all the connoisseurs of Hindi films .

English: Indian musician Naushad

Musician Naushad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar as a yo...

Lata Mangeshkar as a young woman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mohammed Rafi

Mohammed Rafi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

All lyrics written by Shakeel Badayuni, music composed by Naushad.

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. “Tu Ganga Ki Mauj” (Raga Bhairavi) Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar
2. “Aaj Gawat Man Mero Jhoomke” (Raga Desi) Ustad Amir Khan, D. V. Paluskar
3. “O Duniya Ke Rakhwale” (Raga Darbari) Mohammad Rafi
4. “Door Koi Gaye” (Raga Des) Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum and chorus
5. “Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya” (Raga Bhairav with traces of Raga Kalingda) Lata Mangeshkar
6. “Jhoole Mein Pawan Ki Aai Bahar” (Raga Pilu) Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar
7. “Man Tarpat Hari Darsan Ko Aaj” (Raga Malkauns) Mohammad Rafi
8. “Bachpan Ki Muhabbat” (Based on Maand) Lata Mangeshkar
9. “Insaan Bano” (Raga Todi) Mohammad Rafi
10. “Tori Jai Jai Kartar” (Raga Puriya Dhanashree) Ustad Amir Khan
11. “Langar Kankariya Ji Na Maro” (Raga Todi) Ustad Amir Khan, D. V. Paluskar
12. “Ghanana Ghanana Ghana Garjo Re” (Raga Megh) Ustad Amir Khan
13. “Sargam” (Raga Darbari) Ustad Amir Khan

This Vijay Bhatt directed film ran for 100 weeks and created history . It is so heartening to note that ” Baiju Bawra “ is now 60 years old and for a film connoisseur like me its magic refuses to fade away even after so many years .

As an acting trainer , its my job to make my students aware of these iconic films and I do it regularly in my acting class in Mumbai .

I , on behalf of all the students and staff of my acting school Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , express my happiness on this historic day .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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A Tearful Tribute to Bala Saheb Thackeray


MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 22 , 2012           11.20 P.M.

I was trying to write this obituary since Saturday . But I couldn’t . There were many things , many thoughts running in my mind simultaneously . And in such circumstances flood-gates of memory gets opened and submerges our psyche .

On Saturday November 17 , 2012 , I was sitting in the office of my Acting Institute , Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , when I heard about the demise of Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray . I closed my Acting Class immediately and returned home . Then I started watching TV . Every channel was full of the sad news . While watching the channels , I was thrown into the year 1967 , the year I passed high school examinations , left my native place Deoria and went to Allahabad for higher studies .

In Allahabad I heard about Shiv Sena , the 1-year-old new emerging force in Maharashtra .

Shiv Sena

Shiv Sena Symbol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The year was 1967 and Shiv Sena was just 1-year-old organization . I took admission in the Government Inter College , Allahabad and like all the youngsters of my age , I was trying to gather more knowledge , was trying to know more things about the world . I , along with my friends , used to read news papers and discuss events and personalities . Because of Shiv Sena’s pro – Marathi policies and staunch parochial attitude , the organization Shiv Sena and its leader Bal Thackeray [ as Bala Saheb was known then ] , was centre of debate and topic of many heated discussions .

I finished my studies , returned to my native place again and started my life afresh . Destiny sometimes plan things differently and plays unique games . So in 1989 I landed up in Bombay . The city , yet to be rechristened Mumbai , became my permanent abode . In 1989 Shiv Sena got registered as a political party . So my life in Mumbai and life of Shiv Sena as a political party began simultaneously in 1989 .

As I started living in Mumbai , I took note of Shiv Sena , started reading about it and started appreciating Shri Bala Saheb Thackeray and his ideology . I was not mature in 1967 , so I was critical of Bala Saheb’s policies and as a north – Indian felt bad when he uttered something against the north Indians . But as my life began in Mumbai , I started feeling that if someone feels that Marathi language , Marathi culture should be paramount in Maharashtra , there is no harm . If a leader says that Marathi should get preference in Maharashtra and it should be the state language , it is absolutely fine . Marathi language should get preference as the state language . If some organization advocates , propounds and is vocal about jobs for the son – of – the – soil , I feel that it is not unjustified at all and is definitely not anti – national .

So re – evaluation of Bala Saheb as a person and as a leader of Shiv Sena began in my mind . I must admit that slowly all the misgivings of previous years evaporated from my mind . 1990 onwards I could appreciate him in a much better way . I came to know about his early days as a cartoonist in ” The Free Press Journal ” . I saw some of the cartoons , which were published in ” Marmik ” , a magazine which he started after leaving ” The Free Press Journal “. He was second to none as a cartoonist , not even to the legendary R. K. Laxman . His cartoon character Kaka Ji , though not as famous as the Common Man of R. K. Laxman , was a poignant work of art . He even designed the famous logo of Raj Kapoor‘s R. K. Films .

As an orator , he had few equals . His connect with the masses was absolute . When I heard him for the first time , I was mesmerized , though my knowledge of Marathi was limited in those days .

It is unfortunate that I could not meet him in person . I am writing a book on acting and it was my secret wish that Bala Saheb should launch the book . Alas , along with so many wishes , my this wish will also remain unfulfilled .

While sitting at home and watching his funeral procession on Sunday , I remembered some other funeral processions of eminent Indians . I have seen Mahatma Gandhi’s funeral procession in photos . He attracted mammoth crowd even after his death . I do remember Jawahar Lal Nehru’s and Indira Gandhi’s last journey . Again the crowd was unprecedented . Last year I visited Anna Durai’s memorial in Puducherri and was stunned to see photos of his last journey . Apart from these above mentioned last journeys of  great Indian leaders , I have never seen such huge crowd for anybody’s last journey . Jawahar Lal Nehru , Indira Gandhi and Anna Durai held high positions in government . Mahatma Gandhi is the sole example of not holding any post and still commanding such respect after his death . Bala Saheb stands second only to Mahatma Gandhi .

I am sad that I could not meet him earlier and now after his demise it is not possible anymore .

English: Photo of Uddhav Thackeray, taken at B...

Photo of Uddhav Thackeray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On my behalf and on the behalf of my acting institute Vidur’s Kreating Charakters , I offer condolences to Shri Uddhav Thackeray and the whole Thackeray family .

Nation lost a great leader and I lost an opportunity .

VIDUR

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA

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