Legendary Bengali actor Suchitra Sen breathed her last on January 17, 2014, aged 82. But the 'Mahanayika' of Bengali cinema, as she is famously called, continues to inspire generations of actors. The slight sway of her head has mesmerised Bengali cinegoers and directors for decades. Therefore, it was only natural for debutant director Saikat Bhakat to be influenced by Bengal's Greta Garbo. And so impressed is Bhakat that he has named his film Mahanayika, keeping Sen in mind. And playing the legend is top Bengali actor Rituparna Sengupta.
That's not all. Rituparna's character in the film has been named Shakuntala Sen, keeping the late iconic actor in mind and sounding close to the original. Rituparna plays an actor in the film.
However, that doesn't mean Bhakat's film Mahanayika is a biopic? "Suchitra Sen was the finest actress of her time and in the film, we are showing that Shakuntala Sen is the reigning queen of the Bengali film industry now. We are not aping Suchitra Sen's make up and look for our film. Mahanayika is not a biopic on the actress. But yes, we have been inspired by some moments in her professional life. Suchitra Sen acted in as Kamallata in 1969. We are showing Shakuntala Sen is also acting in a film titled Kamallata. This is our way of paying tribute to one of the greatest actresses of Bengali cinema," says the director.
In the meantime, Rituparna, who's a self-confessed Suchitra Sen fan, says that the film bears some resemblance to Sen's life. "We are not making a biopic on her. Mahanayika revolves around the life of an actress, Shankuntala Sen and looks at how a film industry works. I am very fond of Suchitra Sen. She is one of the best actresses the country has ever produced. She had struggled a lot to reach the place she enjoys till now. She had introduced a new style of acting in Bengali cinema," says the actor.