Legendary Indian filmmaker, Mrinal Sen died of a cardiac failure in Kolkata on Sunday. He was 95.
Sen was born in 1923 in Faridpur, British India (now Bangladesh). He debuted in 1955 with “Raat Bhore” and found local acclaim with “Neel Akasher Neechey” (1959) and “Baishey Shravana” (1960). He won India’s national awards for best film and director for “Bhuvan Shome” (1969).
Along with his contemporaries Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, Sen was part of a troika of directors from the Eastern Indian state of Bengal that put Indian cinema on the global stage. During a tumultuous time in Bengal politics in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Sen and Ray both made Calcutta trilogies, with Sen choosing to be overtly political with “Interview,” “Calcutta 71” and “Padatik.” Ray took the humanist approach with “Pratidwandi,” “Seemabaddha” and “Jana Aranya.”
In 1981, Sen won three awards at Berlin for “Akaler Sandhane.” He had earlier won Berlin awards for “Chorus” in 1975 and “Parashuram” in1979. At Cannes, “Ek Din Pratidin,” “Kharij” and “Genesis” were up for the Palme d’Or in 1980, 1983 and 1986 respectively, with “Kharij” winning a jury prize.
Sen’s last film was 2002’s “Aamaar Bhuvan,” which won best director at Cairo and best actress for Nandita Das. Sen’s son Kunal survives him.
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Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India, tweeted: “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.”