A trip down memory lane

Posted: April 8, 2013 in Bengali films, Mrinal Sen

Mrinal Sen would soon turn 92. The Father of the Indian New Wave, of political films and of significant experimentation with the medium – the contribution of Mrinal Sen towards Indian Cinema is second to none. He had always been a quiet humanist at work, strong in his resolve to understand changing times and its resultant people. A homage, and a retrospective look at the ‘bhuvan’ he created…

 

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Kali Bandopadhyay in Neel Akaser Neechey (1959)

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Madhabi Mukherjee in Baisey Shravan (1959)

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Madhabi Mukherjee in Baisey Shravan (1959)

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Gyanesh Mukherjee in Baisey Shravan (1959)

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Soumitra Chaterjee & Aparna Sen in Akash Kusum (1965)

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Utpal Dutt in Bhuvan Shome (1969)

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Shekar Chaterjee and Utpal Dutt in Bhuvan Shome (1969)

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Ranjit Mullick in Interview (1971)

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Debraj Ray in Kolkata Akattor (1972)

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Satya Bannerjee in Kolkatta Akattor (1972)

There is a certain uniqueness in the handling of narratives by MS. Even in his most political films, like in the quartet (Calcutta 71, Interview, Padatik & Chorus) at least on two occasions (Interview and Chorus) the treatment is rather light-hearted in the unfolding of a rather serious subject – the attack on remnants of a colonial culture (Interview) and on a nexus of the wily hoarders-industrialist-bureaucrats-political class (Chorus).
It is often hard to appreciate a film by MS. One needs to develop a taste for his kind of experimental cinema. Yet, credit must be accorded to him to pursue such offbeat idiom in his unique film-making style. There is hardly anyone else in Indian Cinema, before or after, to tread such a path of unconventionality, avoiding traps of a detailed narrative style. Piecing together the different strands in his films is akin to solving a puzzle. The audience that is willing to engage himself with such non-conformism and also empathise with the strong content usually discovers a rewarding experience in his films.

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Utpal Dutta in CHORUS (1975)

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Mithun Chakraborty and Mamata Shankar in Mrigayaa (1976)

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Vasudeva Rao in Oka Orie Katha (1977)

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Arun Mukhopadhyay and Sreela Mazumdar in Parashuram (1978)

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Dhritiman Chaterjee in Akaler Sandhane (1980)

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Anjan Dutta and Utpal Dutt in Chalchitro (1981)

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Anjan Dutta and Mamata Shankar in Kharij (1982)

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Shabana Azmi in Khandahar (1983)

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Soumitro and Gita Sen in Mahaprithibi (1991)

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Dimple Kapadia in Antareen

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Anjan Dutta in Antareen

In many of his films the protagonist is often in quest of a better life (Baisey Shravan, Interview, Akash Kusum) but gets frustrated in his effort. In ‘Parushuram’, too, such a longing brings the protagonist from the village to the city.

TO BE CONTINUED….

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