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Mrinal Sen -The pioneer of alternative Cinema turns 90

News Helpline | January, 01 2012

If fast moving story lines, glossy overseas locations, swift action punch of these sequences can make you feel good, there are some movies which make you feel proud. One of those film makers who changed the profile of Indian Cinema in the view of world and lead the alternative cinema movement in the 60s; maestro Mrinal Sen turns 90 today. To many Indian filmgoers today; Mrinal Sen is a cult hero. Sen, the pioneer of the alternative cinema is rated as one along with the three geniuses Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Roy. Mrinal Sen, whose films have been well-known for their Marxist views, bagged four National Film Awards as the best director for works like 'Khandahar' (1984) and 'Bhuvan Shome' (1969), he was also awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in filmmaking, in 2005. Starring actress Nandita Das, his last film 'Aamaar Bhuvan' (This, My Land) was released in 2002, he haven't made any more films so far. But, he assured he is not retiring. "Every day I feel like making a new film. Ideas pop up out of my head. Let's see when I can act on them," said Sen. Recently he got an offer of fund projects worth upwards of Rs 5 crore about which he thinks he can make six movies with that amount of money. Interestingly the filmmaker said birthdays don’t excite him. "Birth or death, it is not my business to celebrate. My friends and relatives and others who think of me are there to celebrate if they will. Not me," Sen believed. Sen is sad about the condition of films prints it disturbs him, the films which are regarded as classics today. "Most of them are in a pretty bad condition. All because of an unfriendly climate and, of course, for unhealthy storage," the maestro said. Under the monitoring of the National Film Archives of India in Pune, private labs in Mumbai are now working on digitalizing and restoring two of his films - 'Antareen' and 'Ek Din Pratidin' . "There are plenty of films, not only mine but others also, which need restoration. Considering the expenses involved in the restoration, I had suggested them to consider only 15 films of mine for restoration," Sen said. In 2010 when his film 'Khandahar' (The Ruins) was invited for the Cannes festival, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had personally intervened to get the film print restored in time for the screening. "I have now gathered that the central government had since then been going ahead with the restoration work for various other films including mine," the director added. The iconic director now lives with his wife Gita, a fine actress herself and who acted in many of her films including the Golden Bear winning 'Akaler Sandhane', at a flat in south Kolkata while his only son Kunal works in Chicago. Bollywood Helpline is wishing the pioneer of alternative cinema a very happy birthday.

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