Curtain raiser on the centenary celebration of Mrinal Sen’s birth anniversary
In the context of Indian cinema Mrinal Sen is probably the most unique instance where a filmmaker shrugged off the uncertain, groping trends of his early work to a more assured signature of his later films. This in no way tries to underscore the fact that within this sweep as well, Sen changed the philosophical fulcrum of his films multiple times.
From his contemporary films in the early 1960s till his epoch-making Bhuvan Shome (made in 1969 which ushered in the Indian New Wave), from his angst-ridden films on his El-dorado Calcutta to the more subtle trajectory in the films of the eighties, Sen constantly surged to find new meanings, new ways, new paths to his cinematic truth. His films, apart from a handful, were never popular in the Box-Office but that didn’t make him cautious about experimenting with ideas and forms. He made films in other languages, apart from his native Bengali and the more prevalent Hindi, much to the dismay of many of his compatriots who could, at their very best, think of casting actors speaking in other languages in their Bengali films.
In being more open to other racial identities, Sen could achieve greater success in terms of recognition and acclaim, at many times from international forums as well. The Silver Bear at Berlin for Akaler Sandhane (1980) and the Cannes Jury award for Kharij (1982) are two to mark the point. Notwithstanding the awards Sen’s films continued to intrigue the audience to look beyond the obvious, to think deeper.
14 May 2023 marks the birth centenary of Indian cinema’s most consistently polemical filmmaker.
To pay a homage Silhouette will carry several articles, both new and republished, for the next four weeks starting with his birthday.
The articles written by the young and the veteran hope to cover different aspects of Sen’s cinematic career. They, we at Silhouette are sure, will urge the reader to probe further to re-visit the cinema of Mrinal Sen and to reexamine the political intellect of its auteur.
Whether you are new or veteran, you are important. Please contribute with your articles on cinema, we are looking forward for an association. Send your writings to firstname.lastname@example.org
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