Chanchal Chowdhury, Srijit Mukherji on Mrinal Sen Homage ‘Padatik’

“Padatik,” a start centenary homage to Indian auteur Mrinal Sen, is in post-production and is aiming to launch at a serious movie competition this fall. Sen might be India’s most revered filmmaker after Satyajit Ray.

Sen was born on May 14, 1923 in Faridpur, British India, now in Bangladesh and died in 2018, forsaking a glittering array of labor, most of that are thought-about landmarks of Indian cinema, together with “Neel Akasher Neechey” (1959), “Baishey Shravana” (1960), “Akash Kusum” (1965), “Bhuvan Shome”(1969), “Interview,” (1971), “Calcutta 71” (1972), “Padatik” (1973), “Mrigayaa” (1976), “Ek Din Pratidin” (1979), “Akaler Sandhane” (1980), “Kharij” (1982) and “Khandhar” (1983).

Sen labored in what was a very fecund interval for Bengali-language cinema, primarily based within the japanese Indian movie stronghold Calcutta (now Kolkata). His contemporaries included the globally lauded Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Tapan Sinha. Like Ray and Sinha, Sen was additionally feted on the world’s main movie festivals, successful awards at Cannes, Venice and Berlin. In addition, Sen was accorded the Dadasaheb Phalke award, India’s highest movie honor.

“The overarching influence of the Holy Trinity [Ray, Ghatak, Sen], as well as Tapan Sinha has been huge right from my childhood,” “Padatik” director Srijit Mukherji advised Variety. Mukherji debuted with “Autograph” (2010), which was an homage to Ray’s “Nayak” (1966) and he says that the film-within-film parts of the function draw from “Akaler Sandhane,” his favourite Sen movie. “How the blurring of the line between reel and real can create dramatic and terse moments on celluloid is something which ‘Akaler Sandhane’ very definitely drives home,” Mukherji stated. The filmmaker provides that “Akaler Sandhane,” “Kharij” and “Khandhar” have extensively influenced his physique of labor at a subliminal degree, “Which is why on the centenary it was gurudakshina, a sub-continental tradition of paying tribute to one of the masters from whom you’ve learned your craft.”

Though he had roots in neorealism, Ray was thought-about a proponent of the classical college of filmmaking. Sen was something however and used each approach at his disposal, typically uncooked and edgy, to inform offended, pressing and political tales.

“He was, in a lot of ways what you call nowadays an indie filmmaker, a person who cocked a snook at conventions, bargained with producers to reduce his budget instead of increasing it, because he knew that with the increased budget would come increased interference. He took a camera and went onto the streets, had absolutely spontaneous, impromptu organic shooting methods,” Mukherji stated. “Whenever I do guerrilla shoots on the streets of Kolkata or any city in the country, actually, a part of me celebrates Mrinal Sen – because that is something which is essential to his filmmaking, handheld camera, fourth wall breaking, guerrilla shoots, impromptu sequences and passages.”

Mukherji primarily based the “Padatik” script on Sen’s journals, articles, essays and letters; books by Shiladitya Sen and Dipankar Mukhopadhyay; private anecdotes from the upcoming memoir “Bondhu,” by Mrinal Sen’s son Kunal, who additionally contributed many extra particulars of his father’s life; and private accounts and oral historical past from discussions with movie research professor Sanjoy Mukhopadhyay, movie collector Debasis Mukhopadhyay and actors who Sen had labored with, together with Dhritiman Chatterjee, Mamata Shankar and Anjan Dutt.

In “Padatik,” Sen is performed by famous Bangladeshi actor Chanchal Chowdhury. Mukherji had seen the actor’s work in streamer Hoichoi’s unique collection “Karagar” and reached out to him. Prep time was restricted as a result of the concept was to get the movie prepared in time for Sen’s start centenary. “Just being a lookalike is not enough for a biopic, especially one of a legend like Mrinal Sen,” Chowdhury advised Variety. “My quest was to convey the sense of Sen’s inner man. I took up that challenge.”

The actor says that attending to know the true Sen, particularly his beliefs and rules, throughout his analysis for the position was his largest reward in the course of the course of of constructing the movie. “People may know Sen’s films, but not necessarily his principles and it was our responsibility to convey the sense of the creator to the audience,” Chowdhury stated. The actor praises the efforts of the movie’s producer Firdausul Hasan in bringing the mission to life.

Hasan beforehand produced “Aparajito” (2022), a fictionalized biopic of Ray, and “Mahananda,” a fictionalized model of the lifetime of writer Mahasweta Devi.

“I am here driven by my passion and it’s not always that I make films for money. Film is my identity, I should make a good film that will have archival value,” Hasan advised Variety. “For me film is not only entertainment, for me film is also art and culture.”

About “Padatik” Hasan says, “Visually people will experience Sen’s struggle, his life, his philosophy, his approach towards film, his hardships, his relationship with Ray and Ghatak,” Hasan stated. “And people will be able to see that we have created that era, they can go back in a time machine and see how things were at that time.”

The “Padatik” group’s ambition is to reestablish Sen’s rightful place within the pantheon of Indian cinema within the 12 months of his start centenary.

“Unfortunately, in India, even in Bengal, he’s fast receded from the public memory, his effect has not been as long lasting or not that celebrated as Satyajit Ray,” Mukherji stated. “I’m hoping that Kolkata and India will wake up to his films and recognize the person who started the Indian New Wave.”

“The great thing about him was the way he celebrated the city of Kolkata and enshrined and documented the political history of the city and in fact, the country is incredible,” Mukherji added. “He is socially and cinematically one of the giants of Indian cinema, a status, which should be celebrated, more so because this is a centenary, and I hope this film will be a small step in that direction.”

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