Veteran filmmaker Mrinal Sen passes away at 95
The filmmaker was known for his contribution to Bengali parallel cinema
Legendary filmmaker, Padma Bhushan and Dada Saheb Phalke-awardee Mrinal Sen died of cardiac arrest at his Kolkata residence at 10.30 am today. He was suffering from age-related health problems and was aged 95.
Along with contemporaries Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, Sen was considered as one of the greatest ambassadors of Bengali parallel cinema on the global stage. He was awarded Padma Bhushan - India's third highest civilian award - in 1983. Apart from winning several National Awards, in 2005, he also received the country's highest film honour, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
Mrinal Sen was born on May 14, 1923, in Faridpur, now in Bangladesh. He moved to Kolkata to study Physics, but was drawn to filmmaking after reading a book on film aesthetics. He had briefly worked as a medical representative outside Kolkata, but returned to the city to work as an audio technician in a film studio which brought him into the film industry and ultimately launched his film career.
Sen began his film direction in 1955 with Raat Bhore but shot to international fame with his third film Baishey Shrabon. His 1969 Hindi film, Bhuvan Shome launched the 'new cinema' movement in the country. His films were known for not ending on a happy note or presenting any definitive conclusion, and several of them won national and international awards for merging existentialism, surrealism, German expressionism, postmodernism and Italian neo-realism.
Though he was an ardent Marxist, Sen was never a member of the undivided Communist Party of India but was close to socialist Indian People's Theatre Association. On July 24, 2012, Sen was not invited by the Trinamool Congress regime to a West Bengal government programme to felicitate film personalities due to his political views.
The entire Bengal film industry, President Ram Nath Kovind, and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed grief over his passing today, and tributes have started pouring in on social media. President Ram Nath Kovind called his death a loss to world cinema.
Mrinal Sen is survived by his son Kunal Sen. His wife Gita Shome passed away last year. Sen's mortal remains will be preserved at Peace Haven mortuary till his son returns from Chicago on January 2. The filmmaker had urged that his mortal remains should not be given any state honours.