Mrinal Sen and a ban!
Mrinal Sen, the legendary arthouse filmmaker, expired today at the age of 95. He directed a string of brilliant and penetrating films which more often than not hurled out the movie goers from their comfort zone to the stark realities of an imperfect society. He, along with Satayajit Ray and Rithik Ghatak, formed the formidable trio of Indian filmmakers who mesmerized both national and international audiences like never before, or after for that matter.
While remembering him for his great movies today, let us do what we are here for—mine some trivia about Mr. Sen!
Hmmm..you will be surprised to know that the first movie banned by government of Independent India was Neel Akasher Nichey (Under the blue sky), directed by..yes, you guessed right, Mrinal Sen! This shows there was, ahem, intolerance back then too. Not a new phenomenon after all!
Neel Akasher Neechey is about a platonic relationship between an Indian housewife and a Chinese immigrant set at the backdrop of pre-independent Calcutta. Exactly why this film ‘hurt’ sentiments of the government of the time is not known. One needs to watch the movie to guess I think.
However, Mrinal Sen himself was not very fond of this creation of his and mentioned the same during an interview (https://www.cineaste.com/winter2018/understanding-my-times-mrinal-sen/?fbclid=IwAR1TITRXgkZOfhOlRn_0XAFtaM-wHrbUZ4RCXSx5w7ddbbDr2MQb1rv3ig8 ).
Be that as may be, the ban hardly tamed Sen down which is evident from his movies down the years.
Signing off today with a salute to the defiant filmmaker! Thank you for the gems!