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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Suchitra Sen : Ei Poth Jodi Na Shesh Hoi……


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           FEBRUARY 18, 2014           09.20 P.M.

Mahanayika Suchitra Sen

Mahanayika Suchitra Sen

The year was 1967 or 1968. The city was Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh. And the cinema hall , if my memory is not failing me , was Ajanta Talkies at Zero Road. I , along with few of my friends, went to watch a Dilip Kumar starrer black & white film ” Devdas ” [ 1955 ] . I had read Sharat Chandra written immensely popular novel of the same name during my adolescent age in Deoria. I read it so many times and I was so infatuated, fascinated by the character of Devdas that even after so many decades , I vividly remember each and every thing about the novel and all the details of all the characters. In 1967 – 1968, when I went to watch the film, I could even recite the dialogues and paragraphs from the novel.

I had heard about myriads film avatars of Devdas, which were made in several Indian languages.  Naturally Dilip Kumar starrer and Bimal Roy directed ” Devdas ” [ 1955 ] in Hindi was on the top of my list. It had Dilip Kumar portraying the male protagonist to the perfection. I had read various articles about his portrayal of the character. I also knew that Paro is being played by a Bengali actress called Suchitra Sen .

I entered and took my seat in the Ajanta cinema hall. Film started and Dilip Kumar’s arrival on the screen was greeted with thunderous applause. I got totally engrossed in the histrionics and persona of the thespian, the legendary tragedy king of Hindi cinema, ( the ) Dilip Kumar. I was waiting for Suchitra Sen to appear on the screen. Young Paro was played by baby Naaz. I was waiting with curiosity for Suchitra Sen to appear on the screen. She appeared on the screen …………

………….and behold !!!

I was smitten by her eyes. I was hooked to her beauty. I was enamoured by her personality. I was hypnotized by her voice. I was captivated for life by her screen persona. Apart from Waheeda Rehman, I have never admired any other actress so much.

Suchitra Sen as Paro in Hindi Devdas

Suchitra Sen as Paro in Hindi Devdas

Suchitra Sen as Paro in Hindi Devdas with Dilip Kumar

Suchitra Sen as Paro in Hindi Devdas with Dilip Kumar

Later on I watched Dev Anand and Suchitra Sen starrer ” Bombai Ka Baboo ” [ 1960 ] . Though an ordinary film but the climax of the film refused to fade away from my psyche for days and months. After so many decades , even today, it refuses to get obfuscated. Ah, her serene elegant persona, her haunting tear-filled eyes and the back-ground song in the voice of legendary Mukesh, ” Chal Ri Sajni Ab Kya Soche ; Kajra Na Beh Jayen Rote Rote ………. “ shook me permanently and became an eternal part of my being. Every drop of tear on her cheek is still fresh in my memory.

Vintage Suchitra Sen

Vintage Suchitra Sen

After above mentioned two films , I watched ” Mamta ” [ 1966 ] .1966 – 67 is the important year of my life. I passed high school. I left Deoria and went to Allahabad for higher studies. Slowly I started coming out of my cocoon. I started watching films regularly and started appreciating them also. I started spending hours and hours with my friends discussing films. And one day , I watched ” Mamta ” [ 1966 ] . I was a fan of Ashok Kumar. I was a fan of Suchitra Sen . And she was essaying a double role of mother and daughter in this film. She played it with perfection. It was one year before Dilip Kumar’s highly successful and much acclaimed double role in the film ” Ram Aur Shyam ” [ 1967 ] .

Suchitra Sen in Mamta

Suchitra Sen in Mamta

Needless to say that much later I watched ” Aandhi ” [ 1975 ] also . It is her last Hindi film. She was marvellous as usual. 3 years after the much acclaimed film ” Aandhi ” [ 1975 ] , she retired in 1978 and slowly faded from public life.

Suchitra Sen in Andhi

Suchitra Sen in Andhi

From ” Sharey Chuattor ” [ 1953 ] to ” Pronoy Pasha ” [ 1978 ] , she worked in 60 films in a career spanning 25 years. Out of her total 60 films , her Hindi films are only 7. These films are : ” Devdas ” [ 1955 ] , ” Musafir ” [ 1957 ] , ” Champakali ” [ 1957 ] , ” Bombai Ka Baboo ” [ 1960 ] , ” Sarhad ” [ 1960 ] , ” Mamta ” [ 1966 ] and ” Aandhi ” [ 1975 ] . Of all the 7 Hindi films of her, I have watched 4 films.

Her important and memorable Bengali films are : ” Sharey Chuattor ” [ 1953 ] , ” Sabar Uparey ” [ 1955 ] , ” Mejo Bou ” [ 1955 ] , ” Shilpi ” [ 1956 ] , ” Harano Sur ” [ 1957 ] , ” Pathe Holo Deri ” [ 1957 ] , ” Deep Jwele Jaai ” [ 1959 ] , ” Smriti Tuku Thaak ” [ 1960 ] , ” Saptapadi ” [ 1961 ] , ” Saat Paake Badha ” [ 1963 ] , ” Uttar Phalguni ” [ 1963 ] , ” Grihadaha ” [ 1967 ] , ” Alo Amaar Alo ” [ 1972 ] , ” Haar Maana Haar ” [ 1972 ] , ” Devi Chaudhurani ” [ 1974 ] , ” Datta ” [ 1976 ] and ” Pronoy Pasha ” [ 1978 ].

I have seen many of these films. I will specially mention Uttam Kumar and Suchitra Sen starrer ” Saptapadi ” [ 1961 ] . One number of this film is considered all time great romantic song ever in Bengali films. It is ” Ei poth jodi na shesh hoi …………….. Uttam Kumar on the bike and Suchitra Sen as pillion rider singing the immortal ” ………………. Ei poth jodi na shesh hoi ………………. ” .

"Saptapadi" -Ei Poth Jodi Na Shesh Hoi ......

“Saptapadi” -Ei Poth Jodi Na Shesh Hoi ……

Years later when I came to Bombay [ now Mumbai ] and became acting trainer, one day I got a call from Riya Sen. She wanted to get trained by me. I was ecstatic that I would be training legendary Suchitra Sen’s grand-daughter. I immediately went to her Juhu residence. I worked with her for few months. I met her sister Raima and mother Moon Moon Sen also. But I could not get a chance to meet legendary Suchitra Sen. Though I wanted to meet her desperately. But it was not destined.

She became recluse by each passing year. She came out of her house when Uttam Kumar died on July 24, 1980. After that day no one had seen her ever. It was 34 year-long reclusive life. It was 34 year-long self – imposed exile. But instead of fading from memory, it made her personality more enigmatic. Even after 34 years the aura remained undiminished. She went away from public gaze but never faded from public memory.

Enigmatic Suchitra Sen

Enigmatic Suchitra Sen

Ethereal Suchitra Sen

Ethereal Suchitra Sen

Impish Suchitra Sen

Impish Suchitra Sen

One of her many avatars

One of her many avatars

I used to ask Riya many questions about her grandmother. I wanted to know more and more mortal details about immortal Suchitra Sen. Riya was nonchalant. Initially her nonchalance baffled me, disappointed me. It never occurred to me that for me Suchitra Sen is an idol , an icon but for Riya , she is her grandmother. So her answers never matched my enthusiasm. I think she must have felt awkward by my intrusion.

Alas ! as is the inevitable for every human being, Suchitra Sen left this world for her celestial journey on January 17, 2014 . She died in Kolkata aged 82.

Suchitra Sen : Last Journey

Suchitra Sen : Last Journey

Mortal Remains of Immortal Suchitra Sen

Mortal Remains of Immortal Suchitra Sen

I was saddened beyond words. I am still numb. I was unable to write about her immediately, though I wanted to write desperately. Suchitra Sen is gone and with her departure my world of adolescent years has gone forever. It has crumbled. This void is not going to be filled easily. A world without Suchitra Sen is not the world for me. But ….. nothing could be done. Life will meander to complete its course. Life will slither with saddened soul.

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On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I express my profound sorrow and grief. Life goes on and it will go on. But without Suchitra Sen, it will not be same again.

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to offer condolences and express solidarity with Moon Moon Sen, Raima Sen and Riya Sen in this hour of grief.

As they say, they won’t make people like Suchitra Sen any more.

[ List of Suchitra Sen’s films  is taken from Wikipedia. I express gratitude. ]

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Remembering Manna Dey : Tu Pyaar Kaa Saagar Hai


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           NOVEMBER 06 , 2013           08.25 P.M.

Manna Dey

Manna Dey (Photo credit: ramesh_lalwani)

Prabodh Chandra Dey a.k.a. Manna Dey

1 May 1919  −  24 October 2013

The news of Manna Dey’s death was almost a certainty and was expected . Advancing age and failing health had prepared us for such an eventuality . Still when I read about his demise , a pall of gloom engulfed me . He died on October 24 , 2013 in Bengaluru at the age of 94 .

Manna Dey , along with Mohammad Rafi , Mukesh , Kishore Kumar , Talat Mehmood and Hemant Kumar , was the most important play back singer of the golden era of Hindi films and a force to reckon with in singing world . With his demise , the last remnant of the golden era of Hindi film music and a gigantic figure among the male play back singers of Hindi film world is gone forever .

Before proceeding further , I must admit my blasphemy that initially I used to dislike his singing . Today as I can understand the nuances of music , I am ashamed of my blasphemy and I am extremely sorry that during my adolescent years , I was unable to appreciate his mastery of the art and craft . The first song of Manna Dey , which I liked and appreciated was the iconic ” Qasme Waade Pyaar Wafa , Sab Baaten Hain Baaton Kaa Kyaa ………………………………………. ” , the song from Manoj Kumar’s ” Upkar ” [ 1967 ] . I was speechless and stunned while listening the song and watching Pran Saheb on screen . It is uncanny that Pran Saheb and his screen voice in many films , Manna Da , both died in 2013 . Pran Saheb left us on July 12 , 2013 and just 3 months 12 days later , his voice on-screen , Manna Da also left us on October 24 , 2013 .

Later on when I started watching old Hindi films in Allahabad in Sunday morning shows , I watched ” Shri 420 ” [ 1955 ] , I was hooked to his voice . ” Pyaar Hua Iqraar Hua , Phir Pyaar Se Ab Kyon Darta Hai Dil …………………………… ” , ” Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwaalaa …………………………… ” , ” Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh ………………………. ” and the evergreen ” Ramaiya Vastavaiya ……………… “ are difficult to forget .

After watching ” Chori Chori ” [ 1956 ] , I was mesmerized by his voice . His duets with Lata Mangeshkar are immortal and they are pure gems . ” Aajaa Sanam , Madhur Chandni Men Ham ……………………………….. ” and ” Ye Raat Bheegi Bheegi , Ye Mast Fizayen …………………………………… “ refuse to fade away from my memory even after 57 years .

Who can forget his other immortal melodies like ; ” Ae Mere Pyare Watan …………… ” , ” Ik Chatur Naar Karke Singar ………………………………. ” , ” Poochho Na Kaise Maine Rain Bitayee ………………………………………. ” , ” Aao Twist Karen ………………………………………………. ” , ” Yaari Hai Eemaan Meraa …………………………………….. ” and ” Ye Dosti Ham Nahin Chhodenge ……………………………………. ” ?

Known by his stage name Manna Dey , he debuted in the film ” Tamanna ” [ 1942 ] , and continued to sing till ” Umar ” [ 2006 ] . He went on to record more than 4000 songs during 1942 – 2013 . He , though sang for other heroes occasionally , was the voice of Raj Kapoor , Uttam Kumar , Mehmood and Pran .

Since 1992, Manna Dey withdrew himself from Hindi film music. But he continued to sing in Bengali movies, bhajans and ghazals in different languages and appeared in live performances during 1992 to 2012 . His last live performance was in 2012 in Mumbai. His last recorded song in Hindi films was for the film Umar in 2006 composed by Shamir Tandon, Duniyawaalo Kee Nahee Kuchh Bhee Khabar, which he sang along with Kavita Krishnamoorthy and Sonu Nigam.

He sang duets with singers like Mukesh, Sandhya Mukherjee, Mahendra Kapoor, Talat Mahmood, Amit Kumar, Shailendra Singh, Krishna Kalle, Shardha Rajan Iyengar, Arati Mukherjee, Chandrani Mukherjee, Anuradha Pudwal, Hemlata, Minu Purushottom, Bhupinder Singh, K.J. Yesudas, Suresh Wadkar, Kavita Krishnamoorty, Alka Yagnik, Antara Chowdhury, Preeti Sagar, Dilraj Kaur, Yunus Fazmi, Jaspal Singh, Anwar, Manhar Udhas, Joginder and Mubarak Begum.

He worked with more than 102 music directors in Hindi film industry from working with Krishna Chandra Dey in ” Tamanna ” [ 1942 ] to music composer Shamir Tandon in ” Umar ” [ 2006 ] . Thus it was an unprecedented 64 years – long – singing – career .

The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1971, the Padma Bhushan in 2005 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2007 . He was presented the Filmfare Life Time Achievement Award in 2011.

Manna Da sang mainly in Hindi and Bengali; he also recorded songs in several other Indian languages .

Music career in other languages

  • He sang around 1262 songs in Bengali : 611 songs in Bengali films and 356 Bengali non-film songs . He also sang 46 Rabindra Sangeet Songs in Bengali , 3 Dwigendra Geet , 84 Shyama Sangeet , 23 songs in Akashvani , 3 title songs for Bengali TV serials , 103 Bengali songs from non-released Bengali films and 33 Bengali songs of other varieties .
  • He sang 35 film songs in Bhojpuri , 2 songs in Magadh and one song in Maithili language .
  • He sang 13 Punjabi film songs and 5 non-film songs .
  • He sang 2 songs in Assamese films and 4 non-film songs in Assamese language .
  • He sang 7 songs in Oriya language and 1 song each in Konkani film and Sindhi film .
  • He sang 85 songs in Gujrathi films.
  • He sang 55 Marathi songs in Marathi films and 15 non-film songs in Marathi .He was good at Marathi natya sangeet too, which is one of the most difficult genres to sing
  • He sang 5 film songs in Kannada .
  • He sang in the Nepali movie ” Maitighar “
  • He sang 2 in Malayalam – “Maanasamaine Varoo” from 1965 film Chemmeen and song “Chemba Chemba” from 1974 film Nellu sung with P Jayachandran both composed by Salil Chowdhary and lyrics by Vayalar.

Insignia of Brand VIDUR

On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , I offer my condolences to his family . My heart goes to his daughters and other near and dear ones .

VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to offer tribute . It is clichéd to say but there will never be another Manna Dey . He bestrode the Hindi film music world like a colossus but unfortunately never got his due .

May his soul rest in peace !

[ Some of the information and the long list of his songs are being quoted from Wikipedia . I express my debt and gratitude . ]

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