Mrinal Sen: A legend who lived life on his own terms
Eminent personalities from the world of cinema share their memories of auteur Mrinal Sen, who passed away in Kolkata on Sunday. He was 95.Updated: Dec 30, 2018 17:51 IST
The death of veteran filmmaker Mrinal Sen shocked everyone. People from every section of the society are lamenting about the void he has left behind. Eminent personalities have expressed condolences and tweeted about the loss, and also recalled cherished memories they have of Sen. As soon as the news spread, people started gathering at his Bhawanipur residence, Kolkata, to pay tribute to the legend.
Here are some name from the film fraternity, who were close to him and even worked with him, sharing their fond memories with Mrinal Sen.
Gautam Ghose, filmmaker
He will continue to inspire us. It’s a personal loss and no words can describe my feelings right now. My wife and I met him recently. We spent three hours talking to him and he was still this soft-hearted person, talking so passionately about cinema. Since he could not move around or out of his house, he asked me about what is happening right now and when I told him, he was extremely upset hearing about the rising violence and oppression. When I mentioned about my next film, he told me that he would like to watch it on the big screen and not in DVD… forgetting that he can’t move much, lack of cognition. My voice is choking as I talk about him, I am so far from Kolkata right now… I really don’t know how to express pain and anguish. The only thing I request the government and the film industry is to preserve his films. Many of his great movies are rotting. We must preserve his memories.
T 3043 - Mrinal Sen no more .. a most amiable, distinguished creative cinematic mind , contemporary of Satyajit Ray and Rithik Ghatak.. I did my first ever voice over in his film BHUVAN SHOME .. prayers and condolences 🙏🙏— Amitabh Bachchan (@SrBachchan) December 30, 2018
Mamata Shankar, dancer-actor
He is the reason why I stepped into the world of cinema. I never wanted to do films. Today, so many people are calling me and asking about him, I just don’t know what to say. Words are failing me. Today I feel the same way I felt when I lost my father (Uday Shankar)
Buddhadeb Dasgupta, filmmaker
He was my neighbor and we would often visit each other’s places. We would talk about literature, cinema and art. He was quite a knowledgeable person and was extremely well versed. The loss of his wife affected him the most, however, he tried and maintained his jovial self, and would often crack jokes. His uncompromising attitude when it came to his stories, ideas and most importantly with the quality, is what India cinema will remember him for, apart from his excellent body of work. Every time, I watch his films, Baishe Sraban (Bengali, 1960), Matira Manisha (1966), Bhuvan Shome (1969), Oka Oori Katha (1977) and Ek Din Pratidin (1979), it gives me goose-bumps. Many spoke about how he was overshadowed by Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, but that’s totally wrong. He belonged to a league of his own. He was definitely an exception.
I dreaded the day I would have to write about Mrinalda in past tense. But I knew it was coming. I met him last on Nov 11th. He was frail but he didn't leave my hand. Mrinalda, the world, and for sure my world won’t be the same without you. https://t.co/OxE71qJPMG pic.twitter.com/yS70H4ZiMe— Nandita Das (@nanditadas) December 30, 2018
Govind Nihalani, filmmaker
He was a dear friend, so losing him is like losing a part of my soul. I have had some very beautiful moments with him. And today, I am only left with those memories. He is one of the major filmmakers of Indian cinema, whose work and personality can easily be described as eclectic and fearless. He was always ready to experiment with the form of and content of cinema. He was quite progressive when it came to art and ideas. His place belongs in the history of Indian Cinema along with Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak.
Sandip Ray, filmmaker
I can’t believe he is no more. Though he was not keeping well for quite some time now, and had not been making films, but still he was there. Now that place has become empty. I still remember how he used to visit baba (Satyajit Ray) at the hospital when baba was not keeping well. They shared a wonderful bond. We watched all the films he made. My favourite films of his are Matira Manisha (1966) or Calcutta 71 (1972). He had sent me his book, My Chaplin, and wanted to share my feedback. He loved adda sessions and he and baba would often indulge in several addas.
Nandita Das, actor-filmmaker
I dreaded the day I would have to write about Mrinal da in past tense. But I knew it was coming. I met him last on November 11, 2018, when I was in Kolkata for the Kolkata Film Festival. No trip to the city was ever complete without meeting him. And I made sure my trips complete. I cherish every meeting with him. He would not leave my hand, even when he was too frail to talk. It was heart breaking to leave him and even more to see him fade away into silence. A man of many words, and even more actions. I have known Mrinal da for over 20 years, but it was in 2002, when I finally got to work with him in his last film, Amar Bhuvan. After premiering at the festival in Kolkata and then we both went to the Cairo Film Festival, and won awards, the film vanished without a trace. Ever since I have been trying to find it, but to no avail. This is how we respect our great masters! Today there is a vacuum that no one can fill - not in Indian Cinema, not in the world of artists whose conscience made sure there was no dissonance between their life and work. Not in the lives that he had touched. Bondhu (friend), which is what his son Kunal Sen called him, was a bondhu to many. Though not all. He had little patience for the bigoted and hypocrites. He was my friend, philosopher and guide, in the true sense of the word. Mrinalda, the world, and for sure my world won’t be the same without you.
Dimple Kapadia, actor
I’m shocked to hear about the expiry of Mrinal Sen. I had the rare fortune of working with Mrinal Da in Antareen (1994). I was introduced to him by the late Kalpana Lajmi. He knew very well how to handle his actors, and gave me ample scope to emote in the film.
(Inputs by Rishabh Suri and Ranjan Das Gupta)
First Published: Dec 30, 2018 17:50 IST