Born on May 14, 1923, in the town of Faridpur (now in Bangladesh), the Padma Bhushan awardee made his first feature film in 1953. His next film, 'Neel Akasher Nichey' (Under the Blue Sky), earned him local recognition, but it was his third film 'Baishey Shravan' (Wedding Day) that gave Sen international exposure.
Noted filmmaker Mrinal Sen passed away in Kolkata on Sunday (Dec 30) after a prolonged battle with age-related ailments. He was 95 and is survived by his son Kunal. He breathed his last at his Bhowanipore home on Sunday.
Mrinal Sen was considered to be one of the greatest makers of parallel films – an alternative to mainstream commercial Indian cinema – in Bengali along with his contemporary Satyajit Ray. Along with Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Bimal Roy and others, the veteran director was considered a founder of the Parallel cinema movement in West Bengal in the 1950s. His movies were praised for their sensitive depiction of the societal realities of the Indian population at that time.
Mrinal made his directorial debut with the feature film Raat Bhore starring Uttam Kumar in 1955. Ek Din Achanak, Bhuvan Shome, Padatik, Neel Akasher Neecheyand Calcutta 71 are some of his most acclaimed films. He also made short films and documentaries.
In 2005, Mrinal received the country’s highest honour in film, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. In 1983, he became a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award. He was conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Fifth Global Film Festival in Noida in 2012 and was inducted as a member of the Oscar Academy in 2017.
Mrinal also found international acclaim with his films and thrice served as jury member in international film festivals – in 1982 at the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival, in 1983 at the 13th Moscow International Film Festival and in 1997 at the 20th Moscow International Film Festival.
The last movie the director made was Amar Bhuvan in 2002 when he was over 80 years old.
President Ram Nath Kovind, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and many other prominent personalities took to Twitter to express their condolences on Mrinal Sen’s passing away.