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Ode to a Legend: This Connection Between Mrinal Sen & ‘Lagaan’ Will Surprise You

Ode to a Legend: This Connection Between Mrinal Sen & ‘Lagaan’ Will Surprise You

Interestingly, this 'connection' also marked the debut of Amitabh Bachchan who lent his baritone to it!

For Veteran Bengali filmmaker Mrinal Sen, the personal was always political.

One of the forerunners of parallel cinema in India, Sen had the penchant for telling tales with a deep socio-political context.

Arrested at the age of eight for participating in a protest march, Sen’s bent on depicting the personal as political had its seeds sowed deep since his childhood. This was the same year when he watched his first film, Kid by Charlie Chaplin, and discovered his interest in cinema.

Although he never went on to make any Chaplin-esque films or any based on politics, his films, nevertheless, were always political.

And, Bhuvan Shome, one of his prominent works, which won him the National Award for Best Film and Director, recently came to light as a major influencer for the Oscar-nominated film, Lagaan by Ashutosh Gowariker.

Filmmaker Hardik Mehta, paying his tribute to Sen, recently shared a trivia on his Facebook page, elaborating on the relationship between the two films, and how Lagaan was a tribute to the veteran filmmaker.

Bhuvan Shome, featuring Utpal Dutt and Suhasini Mulay, not only initiated a new wave of cinema, but also brought to the fore the two prominent artists–the genius of a cinematographer K K Mahajan, and the baritone of Amitabh Bachchan, much before he began his career as an actor.

An influencer for many more directors and films to come, this film also ushered the New Wave of Indian cinema in the 1970s.

Bhuvan Shome. Photo Source: Sadasivan KM/Facebook; Lagaan. Photo Source: Gracy Singh/Twitter

His first film in Hindi, it was made on a shoestring budget of less than Rs 2 lakh and was funded by the Film Finance Corporation, which was the predecessor of the National Film Development Corporation. It was a tale of a stout and proud widower Bhuvan (Utpal Dutt) whose tryst into the simple world shows him the reflection of his true self.

95-year-old Sen who breathed his last on Sunday, December 30, at 10:30 am, after 65 years of contributing to the merging of the reel and the real lives on celluloid, concretised the end of the golden age of Indian cinema.

From satires to socio-political critiques, Sen, much like his contemporaries, Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak, has transformed the face of Indian cinema.

This eventually led him to a journey of pathbreaking films, sprinkled with another distinct feature–open-ended conclusions. He believed that much like life, cinematic narratives need not have all their knots tied up in the end.

And, today with yet another knot untied, we bid a heartfelt farewell to Mrinal Da.

(Edited by Shruti Singhal)

Photo Source: Tilak Datta/Facebook

You may also like: Remembering V Shantaram: The Veteran Filmmaker Who Shaped the History of Indian Cinema!

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