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 .]

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An Open Letter To FTII Alumna / Alumnus


2

MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           JUNE 18, 2015           00.30 A.M.

Dear Alumna / Alumnus of FTII, Pune !

I have already written 2 blogs about the FTII [ Film & Television Institute of India ] , Pune. 1st blog was written on March 28, 2010. It was about the declining and deteriorating standards of FTII. The 2nd one was written on October 28, 2012. It was about hubris and high-handed behaviour of students of FTII. Today I am forced to write 3rd blog about FTII.

I am reading in newspapers that alumnus of this so-called premier institute are agitated against Shri Gajendra Chauhan, the newly appointed FTII Chief. Nearly 150 students boycotted classes today and continued their protest for the 5th day.

According to Harishankar Nachimuthu, the President of Student’s Union of FTII, Gajendra Chauhan’s appointment is a conspiracy to saffronise this prestigious ( ? ) institute. He states that he is not going to accept Shri Gajendra Chauhan as Chief of FTII. May I demand to know, who is seeking his acceptance or concurrence?

I came to know that several past students [ who are jobless since time immemorial ] are holding meeting in Mumbai and threatening central government that they will fight against Shri Gajendra Chauhan, “a Narendra Modi stooge” till the end. According to them he lacks stature and administrative experience. May I demand to know, who the hell are they to decide, whether Shri Chauhan has the required stature or not?

In the past Mr. Shyam Benegal, Mr. Mrinal Sen, Mr. Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Mr. Mahesh Bhatt, Mr. Girish Karnad, Mr. Vinod Khanna, Prof. U.R. Ananthamurthy and Mr. Saeed Mirza have served as Chairman of the Governing Council of FTII.  They were appointed by the government of the day. Shri Gajendra Chauhan is also appointed by present central government.

I fail to understand, how can students demand to have a say in the appointment of Chief of FTII. Moreover, what stake do past students have in the affairs of their Alma Mater? Why are they agitated? Why are they threatening to “fight till the end”?

Students and alumnus of this so-called prestigious institute should realize that their job is to get trained and not to decide about the governing council chief or other administrative matters of the institute. They must realize that the golden days of Shri Roshan Taneja are over. Their activism fails to produce a single actor of the calibre of ASHOK KUMAR, MOTI LAL, DILIP KUMAR, BALRAJ SAHNI, SANJEEV KUMAR, AMITABH BACHCHAN, SHAHRUKH KHAN, AMIR KHAN, HRITIK ROSHAN or RANBIR KAPOOR. None of the above mentioned actors are the alumnus of FTII. I also fail to find among your alumna, any actress of the stature of NARGIS, MEENA KUMARI, MADHUBALA, GEETA BALI, VYJAYANTIMALA, WAHEEDA REHMAN, REKHA or KAJOL. And you people are talking about the calibre of Gajendra Chauhan.

I appeal to the alumnus of FTII to first become a world-class actor and then try to be an activist. The most important FTII alumnus and your biggest inspiration NASEERUDDIN SHAH is busy doing “world-class” ( ? ) films like “Sona Spa” and ” Jackpot” and you people are pontificating on the calibre of Shri Gajendra Chauhan and threatening Shri Narendra Modi.

And now a word for failed ex students of FTII. You have no business to meddle in the affairs of your alma mater if you are still struggling to make a mark. No one needs your activism. You roam around in the alleys of Mumbai with stinking body, wilting faces, faded attires and dead and gloomy eyes. I pity your rancid existence and failed journey of life. The government of the day doesn’t need or seek your approval. Leave your hubris. You are not doing any favour to us or humanity if you are an ex students of FTII.

Let me make it clear that your agitation is politically motivated. All the right thinking people know it. If it is not so, why people like Anand Patwardhan and other known left-liberals are joining your band wagon? Why students of JNU [ Jawahar Lal Nehru University ] , a breeding ground of leftist and pseudo seculars, are joining your protest? What stake have they in the FTII?

Instead of protesting against Gajendra Chauhan, try to check the deterioration in the quality of the institute. May I demand to know why “for a 3 year programme, there have been students floating around the campus since 2008? May be they will graduate only when their creative juices start flowing.[ verbatim quote from Hindustan Times – Dated June 17, 2015 – Page 11 / also read the editorial ” The World’s not a stage at the FTII – Page 12]

You resist every change and want to run the institute as per your whims and fancies. When UPA appointed committee suggested running the institute on public-private partnership, you people protested. When UPA tried to make the syllabus more contemporary, you started indefinite strike. UPA government headed by Congress was not saffronising the institute. So it is clear that protests and strikes are in your DNA.

Dear alumnus, if you feel or suspect that the appointment of Shri Gajendra Chauhan is a conspiracy to saffronise FTII, I suggest that you should learn to live with it as soon as possible. It will be better for your future, your health and your well-being.

We have seen enough of your hubris. We have tolerated enough of your pseudo intellectual hypocrisy. It is time to say, ” ENOUGH IS ENOUGH “.

 

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On behalf of all the students & staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I denounce you for your hypocrisy, needless hubris and uncalled for activism.

 

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