ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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His Life, Work and Legacy

Remembering Mrinal Sen (1923–2018)

Mrinal Sen became a part of the milieu he had depicted in his films. He had direct knowledge of middle- and lower-middle-class existence, and never observed reality from a distance. He moved with the crowd, but was, perhaps, a lonely traveller in his journey towards discovering the meaning and potency of cinema.

Judged by national and international acclaim, Mrinal Sen would easily rank among the leading film-makers of India. His first film was released in 1955 and the last in 2002, with his creativity peaking in the 1970s and early 1980s. He made 28 feature films, including one for children, to his credit, of which 21 are in Bengali, one each in Odia (Matira Manisha) and Telugu(Oka Oori Katha) and five in Hindi (Bhuvan Shome, Ek Adhuri Kahani, Mrigaya, Genesisand Ek Din Achanak), a 13-episode Hindi teleserial (Kabhi Door Kabhi Paas), and fourdocumentaries. Sen’s creative output hasfew parallels. His national recognition—Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Padma Bhushan, nominated membership of RajyaSabha, Honorary DLitt by fouruniversities, fournational awards for best feature film, four national awards for best direction, three for best feature film inBengali, and umpteen other awards—can only be matchedby his recognition at the internationallevel, at the film festivals of Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Moscow, Montreal, Chicago, and Karlovy Vary. In addition, the Union ofSoviet Socialist Republics (USSR)honouredhim with the SovietLand Nehru Award,France with the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Vladimir Putin feted him with the Order of Friendship of the Russian Federation, and, in 2017, Sen was madea member of the Oscar Academy. Besidesbeing on the juries of major festivals ofthe world, he served asthe chairperson of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune (1980–83) andpresident of the International Federationof Film Societies (1990–99). Other than Satyajit Ray, no other Indian film-maker has perhaps been so awarded, at home and abroad.

Formative Years

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Updated On : 16th Jan, 2019

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