Suhasini Mulay: Mrinal Sen loved to gossip and was inquisitive
Suhasini Mulay remembers first director, Mrinal Sen; tributes from industry pour in
Mrinal da was known for his serious and art [house] cinema, but, personally, he was one of the nicest and coolest human beings. He loved to gossip, and was inquisitive, always eager to know what was happening around him.
I made my debut in Bhuvan Shome when I was 15 years old. I was blissfully oblivious about who I was up against until I chatted with my fellow actors, Utpal Dutt and Shekhar Chatterjee at the shoot. If I had known anything about Mrinal da before [we began shooting], I would have surely developed cold feet. But, once we sat [together] I had no fear. Also, I wasn't aware of the film's success, as I had already left for Canada for my further studied [after it released]. It was only when I was invited for a film festival that I learnt of it.
Later, I worked as an assistant [editor] on Mrigayaa (1976), and that's when I got to know him better. His wife [Geeta Sen] and he were like family. I would often visit them. It was like going to my second home. We would often have heated discussions about politics and cinema, and even the state of the country.
He always had an opinion, and would crack jokes, mostly on himself. The last time I met him was two years ago; a month before Geeta ji passed away. He was fragile and ailing. He told me, 'Suhas, you have to come and stay as often as you can since we don't see young people around too much.' I laughed and opened my eyes wide, because I am 66 years old. He still found me young, but, I guess, he still had the image of that young girl form Bhuvan Shome in his mind.
He also gave me the silver buttons from Utpal Dutt's costume from the film, and asked me to stitch a kurta and wear it the next time I came to visit him. I still have it, because I haven't made a kurta yet. I was planning to meet him in April since I was set to visit Kolkata, but, I guess, destiny had other plans. I will sorely miss him.
Sen's award winning films
* Bhuvan Shome (1969, National Film Award for Best Feature)
* Calcutta 71 (1972, National Film Award for Second Best Feature)
*Akaler Sandhane (1980, National Film Award for Best Direction)
* Parashuram (1979, Berlin International Film Festival - Interfilm Award )
* Oka Oori Katha (1977, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival - Special Jury Prize)
* Kharij (1983, Cannes Film Festival - Jury Prize)
* Ek Din Achanak (1989, Venice Film Festival -OCIC Award - Honorable Mention)
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