In 10 frames, recreating Mrinal Sen’s Kolkatahttps://indianexpress.com/photos/entertainment-gallery/recreating-mrinal-sen-kolkata-5517534/

In 10 frames, recreating Mrinal Sen’s Kolkata

Photo journalist Shashi Ghosh tries to recreate Mrinal Sen’s Kolkata as a tribute to the maestro. The city was an enduring character in many of his movies and very few have captured it like he did.

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The skyline has changed, yes, but this is the closest we could get to the distinctive panorama from Neel Akasher Nichey (1958). Based on a Mahadevi Verma short story, the film is about the platonic relationship between Chinese immigrant worker Wang Lu and local housewife Basanti. Loaded with political overtones, this became the first film to be banned in Independent India. (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

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Crowded buses were a staple of Padatik (1973), considered the third film in Mrinal Sen's Kolkata trilogy. In these days of diverse public transport, crammed Kolkata public buses are no longer a familiar sight, but their presence is not to be ignored, either. (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

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Closed doors and windows offer many layers of meaning in Mrinal Sen's films. As do men with typically Bengali 'jholas'. This scene recalls his groundbreaking 1971 film Interview, which drew both critical acclaim and commercial success, and revolved around such issues as middle-class angst, rampant unemployment, and, according to the director's own admission, anti-colonialism. It is considered to be the first of his Kolkata trilogy. (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

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This is Kolkata's iconic Red Road, made even more iconic by the image of Mrinal Sen himself half-lying on it, evidently preparing for a shot. A filmmaker who knew his city inside out, he turned Kolkata into a chaaracter in his works. (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

kolkata in mrinal sen films

Once again, a recreation from Interview, this was a scene featuring a tram conductor. Trams are another significant feature from Sen's films that have all but disappeared from the streets of Kolkata, thanks to the need for faster modes of transport. (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

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Narrow lanes and political graffiti, two perennial Mrinal Sen favourites. It is difficult to recall a single Sen film that didn't feature at least one of the two, most notably Calcutta 71 (1972) and Ek Din Pratidin (1979). (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

shashi ghosh photos for mrinal sen

Political rallies and slogans, most of them unabashedly Leftist, very often formed the backbone of Sen's films. In the Kolkata of the 1970s and '80s, the context was completely appropriate. (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

Mrinal sen tribute

The blaring metallic megaphone, once a feature of every Kolkata street corner, held special significance in Ekdin Pratidin. Today, they represent a vanishing way of life. (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

mrinal sen tribute

Not the narrowest lane that Kolkata offers, but certainly reminiscent of the claustrophobia, the sheer pressure of the mundane, and the struggle for survival that Sen relied upon so heavily to drive home his point. (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)

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The lone, struggling, lower-class victim juxtaposed against an imposing, manmade structure was a favourite cinematic trope with Sen. The Shahid Minar, by virtue of its being one of the city's most recognisable monuments, was accorded plenty of footage in his Kolkata films. (Written by Yajnaseni; Express Photo by Shashi Ghosh)