On Wednesday evening Twitter was abuzz with the news of the demise of the legendary Indian filmmaker Mrinal Sen. But the news turned out to be a hoax and caused much disturbance in the Sen household. Rumours of his death prevented the filmmaker from getting a good night’s sleep on Wednesday.
“There was a deluge of calls midnight onwards. All of us were disturbed. Sen could not sleep properly on Wednesday night. It is a very distasteful thing to discuss,” said a caretaker in the Sen household. Sen lives in Kolkata with his wife Gita.
Netizens set the microblogging platform abuzz with condolences while a section questioned the reports’ veracity.
Filmmaker Arindam Sil tried to put the grapevine to rest with his update.
“@suhelseth #MrinalSen is just fine. Please do not believe rumours,” Sil tweeted.
According to Sen’s caretaker, the ace The 94-year-old filmmaker is “doing fine” and had his breakfast and lunch on time.
Just been told the news about MrinalDa is incorrect. Relieved. Lesson is don't tweet without waiting for the whole world to confirm news.— SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) June 29, 2016
An HT reader Ranjan Das Gupta wrote to say this: “This morning, I was grief struck hearing news of Mrinal Sen’s sad demise on a popular FM Radio channel. Worried, I called up the veteran director. His wife Geeta Sen answered, ‘Mrinalda is fine. He is only unwell due to age related problems.’ The eternal maverick answered on the phone, ‘I am okay, just bogged down with age issues regarding health. I am reading newspapers and enjoying my normal breakfast.’ Later director Goutam Ghose also spoke to Sen and enquired about his well being. These sort of false rumours have been circulating since Wednesday. Though not fit as a fiddle, Mrinal Sen is very much alive and pulling on.”
Regarded as the pioneer of parallel cinema in India, Sen’s health issues made headlines in recent years.
In December 2015, he underwent a minor hip surgery after slipping and falling in the bathroom.
Despite his age, the nonagenarian has been vocal on raging issues, including the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) appointment controversy. As a former chairman of FTII’s governing council, Sen flayed the appointments.
Born on May 14, 1923, in Faridpur (now in Bangladesh), Sen, a Padma Bhushan and Dada Saheb Phalke awardee, paved the way for parallel cinema in the country with gems like Ek Din Achanak, Padatik and Mrigayaa.
A recipient of 12 international film awards, Sen was a member of the Indian People’s Theatre Association and was instrumental in drawing youth to theatre.
(With input from HT)