Mrinal Sen

Mrinal Sen

Born(1923-05-14)14 May 1923
Died30 December 2018(2018-12-30) (aged 95)
Alma materUniversity of Calcutta
Years active1955–2002
Gita Sen
(m. 1952; died 2017)
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
27 August 1997 – 26 August 2003

Mrinal Sen (14 May 1923 – 30 December 2018) was an Indian film director and screenwriter known for his work primarily in Bengali, and a few Hindi and Telugu language films. Regarded as one of the finest Indian filmmakers, along with his contemporaries Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, and Tapan Sinha, Sen played a major role in the New Wave cinema of eastern India.

Sen has received various national and international honors including eighteen Indian National Film Awards. The Government of India honored him with the Padma Bhushan, and the Government of France honored him with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, while Russian Government honored him with the Order of Friendship. Sen was also awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest award for filmmakers in India.

He was one of the few Indian filmmakers having won awards at the big three film festivals viz., Cannes, Venice and the Berlinale. Sen was a self described "private Marxist".


Mrinal Sen directed Bhuvan Shome (Mr. Shome, 1969) which initiated the "New Wave Cinema Movement" in India.

Film craft, Social context and its political influence

The films that he made next were essentially political, and earned him the reputation as a Marxist artist. This was also the time of large-scale political unrest throughout India. Particularly in and around Calcutta, this period underwent what is now known as the Naxalite movement. This phase was immediately followed by a series of films where he shifted his focus, and instead of looking for enemies outside, he looked for the enemy within his own middle class society. This was arguably his most creative phase.

Depiction of Kolkata

In many Mrinal Sen movies from Punascha (1961) to Mahaprithivi (1992), Kolkata features prominently. He has shown Kolkata as a character, and as an inspiration. He has beautifully woven the people, value system, class difference and the roads of the city into his movies and coming of age for Kolkata, his El-Dorado.


In 1982 he was a member of the jury at the 32nd Berlin International Film Festival. In 1983 he was a member of the jury at the 13th Moscow International Film Festival. In 1997 Sen became the member of the jury at the 20th Moscow International Film Festival. On 24 July 2012, Sen was not invited to the function organised by West Bengal government to felicitate film personalities from the State. As per reports, his political views are believed to be the reason for his omission from the function.


Sen had age-related ailments for many years. He died on 30 December 2018 at the age of 95 at his home in Bhawanipore, Kolkata. The cause was a heart attack.


National Film Awards

Best Feature Film

Second Best Feature Film

Best Direction

Best Screenplay

Special Mention

  • 1978: Parashuram

Best Regional Film Awards

Best Feature Film in Bengali

Best Feature Film in Telugu

Filmfare Awards

Critics Award for Best Film
1976 Mrigayaa
Best Screenplay
1984 Khandhar
Best Director - Bengali
1982 Akaler Shandhaney
Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award
2017 Bengali Cinema

International awards

4th International Film Festival of India - Jury Prize - Bhuvan Shome - 1969
Moscow International Film Festival - Silver Prize – Parashuram
1975 Chorus – 1979
Karlovy Vary International Film Festival - Special Jury Prize
1977 Oka Oori Katha
Berlin International Film Festival
Interfilm Award
1979 Parashuram
1981 Akaler Sandhane
Grand Jury Prize
1981 Akaler Sandhane
Cannes Film Festival - Jury Prize
1983 Kharij
Valladolid International Film Festival - Golden Spike
1983 Kharij
Chicago International Film Festival - Gold Hugo
1984 Khandhar
Montreal World Film Festival - Special Prize of the Jury
1984 Khandhar
Venice Film Festival - OCIC Award - Honorable Mention
1989 Ek Din Achanak
Cairo International Film Festival - Silver Pyramid for Best Director
2002 Aamar Bhuban

State and institutional honors


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