Dadasaheb Phalke award-winning film director Mrinal Sen, the last of the triumvirate of directing icons, Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, passed away on Sunday. He was 95.
Sen took his last breath at his residence at 10.30 am after a prolonged battle with age-related ailments, family source said. "Sen passed away today around 10.30 am due to age-related ailments," a family member said. At around 2:45pm Sen's mortal remains were taken from his residence at Padmapukur in Bhawanipore area to Peace World mortuary. According to a source close the family, the last rites of the filmmaker will be performed tomorrow after his son Kunal Sen, who lives in the US, arrives in India. The family wants to keep the cremation a low key affair, the source added.
Sen, who has won multiple national awards, was known for his artistic depiction of social reality. The auteur, who started the "new wave of Indian cinema" with "Bhuvan Shome", was one of the most acclaimed filmmakers to bring recognition to country's film industry on international platforms. His 1982 Bengali film "Kharij" won the jury prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival. In a tribute to Sen, the Cannes Festival in 2010 screened his restored masterpiece "Kandahar" ("The Ruins") in their 'Cannes Classic' section, after it was restored frame by frame at the National Film Archives at Pune.
In a career spanning for more than six decades, Sen was one of the greatest ambassadors of parallel cinema directing films in both Bengali and Hindi. His trilogy - "Interview", "Calcutta 71" and "Padatik" - is considered to be a masterpiece for depicting the social and political upheaval in Kolkata in the '70s. President Ram Nath Kovind remembered the director for his "penetrating and sensitive portrayal of social realities". "Sad to learn of the passing of acclaimed film-maker Mrinal Sen. From 'Bhuvan Shome' to the 'Calcutta' trilogy, his penetrating and sensitive portrayal of social realities made him a fine chronicler of our times. A loss to Bengal, to India and to the world of cinema," the post from his official Twitter handle read. Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of the noted filmmaker, saying the country is grateful to him for giving some of the most memorable films.
"Our country is grateful to Shri Mrinal Sen for giving us some of the most memorable films. The dexterity and sensitivity with which he made films is noteworthy. His rich work is admired across generations. Saddened by his demise. My thoughts are with his family and admirers," he said on Twitter. West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi expressed deep grief at the demise of the veteran filmmaker.
Mrinal Sen, a Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke awardee, along with his contemporaries Ray and Ghatak paved the way for parallel cinema in the country with gems like 'Mrigayaa', 'Ek Din Achanak', 'Padatik' and 'Akaler Sandhane'. "His cinema is known for artistic depiction of social reality. His death is an irreparable loss to creative Indian cinema," Tripathi said in a statement.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also condoled Sen's demise on Twitter. "Saddened at the passing away of Mrinal Sen. A great loss to the film industry. My condolences to his family," she tweeted. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said he was saddened by the demise of the noted filmmaker. "He was known for his stellar works in Bengali movies and awarded many national & international awards. May God render peace to the departed soul," he tweeted.
CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury also remembered the filmmaker for his humanistic narrative. "Mrinal Sen's passing away is a big loss not only to Cinema but to the world of Culture & India's civilisational values. Mrinal da radicalised cinematography by his people-centric humanistic narrative. Deepest condolences," he wrote. Megastar Amitabh Bachchan tweeted, "Mrinal Sen no more. A most amiable, distinguished creative cinematic mind, contemporary of Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak.. I did my first ever voice over in his film 'Bhuvan Shome'. Prayers and condolences."
Renowned Bengali actor Parambrata Chatterjee tweeted, "End of an era... an epoch... legends never die... bhalo thakben (stay well)." Prosenjit Chatterjee said, "At the end of the year receiving news like demise of the legend Mrinal Sen saddens and shocks us. Mrinal jethu gave a new perspective to Indian Cinema. It's a huge loss for all of us. May his soul rest in peace."
Veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who had worked with film director, said Sen's death was a "personal loss" to him and an irreparable loss to Indian cinema. South superstar Mohanlal also mourned the Indian film industry's loss in Sen's death. "Mrinal Sen you will always be remembered. Rest in Peace," he wrote.
Sen was born on May 14, 1923, in the town of Faridpur, now in Bangladesh. He did his post graduation from the University of Calcutta. As a student, he was influenced by Marxist ideology and was associated with the cultural wing of the Communist Party of India. Although he never became a member of the party, but he was a part of the Indian Peoples Theatre Association. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha from 1998 to 2003. Sen's last film as a director "Aamaar Bhuvan" ("This, My Land") released in 2002.