Actress, Director, Screenwriter and Editor, Aparna Sen has been one of the most celebrated member of Indian film industry for the last four decades. Born in 25th October, 1945 in Kolkata, West Bengal, Aparna Sen is the daughter of veteran critic and filmmaker Chidananda Dasgupta.
In her early youth, charismatic and beautiful Aparna Sen was impressed by European cinema that strongly affected her art life. She started her film career as an actress at the age of 16 in the movie 'Samapti' the final feature of the classic 'Teen Kanya' (1961) by the renowned director Satyajit Ray, in which she played a tomboyish village girl. After 'Samapti', 'Baksa Badal' and 'Akash Kusum' (1965) didn't do too well, then came 'Aparajito', which was her first commercial hit even though she did not quite understand the medium. Her works in cinema and theatre appeared successively getting the praise of critics.
As an actress she got more praises when she acted in Rituparno Ghosh's 'Unishe April' (1994) and also in a self-directed highly acclaimed film 'Paromitar Ek Din'(1999) which won the award of the best Bengali language film in the 47th National Film Awards.
It was '36 Chowranghee Lane'(1981) which gave her first breakthrough as a director/ writer. She was approached by Shashi Kapoor for the movie, in which his wife Jennifer Kendal acts the main lead. This film in English narrates the story of a lonely Anglo-Indian schoolteacher who allows a former student to have romantic trysts in her apartment. This film has won the Grand Prix at the1982 Manila International Film Festival and the National Award for Best Direction in India.
'Paroma'(1984) (The Ultimate Woman), her second film was about a traditional middle-aged Bengali housewife who has an affair with a young NRI on vacation in India. Her other remarkable directorial work includes films such as 'Sati', 'Ek Din', 'Yuganto', a film which deals with subjects like politics, various relationships and ambition, 'Paromitar Ek Din' about a warm friendship between mother in law and daughter in law and more recently, 'Mr. and Mrs. Iyer' (2003), her second English film which won two awards at the Locarno Film Festival in New Zealand and three national awards, about the relationship between a married Tamil Brahmin woman and a Bengali wildlife photographer set amidst violence and fundamentalism.It shocked the Bengali society, which is not yet ready to accept a woman's right to sexual freedom. The film flopped but, after a long gap, Aparna made her journey back to right the early 19th Century Bengal in her third film 'Sati'(1989). Deaf and dumb an orphaned woman Uma represented the past centuries shackled woman. But that film is also a flop. Refined and refresh Aparna striked the screen with 'Yuganto' which dealt with subjects like ambition, ecology, politics and relationship. 'Yuganto'(1995)is certainly an out of the queue cinema for Aparna. But it was Paromitar Ek Din (House of Memories)(2000)a Bengali film that made Aparna Sen a celebrity director. The film exploring the dual themes of friendship and loneliness. Her last film Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002),is a relationship between a devout Hindu Brahmin woman and a Muslim man who are thrown together during an episode of fundamentalist violence.
Aparna Sen or Rinadi as she is affectionately called, is a perfect example of
a rare combination of beauty and brains.
She has been honored with India's most prestigious Padmashree Award in 1986 for her contribution to cinema, the Satyajit Ray Memorial Millennium Award by the Rotary Club for Profound Contribution to Indian Cinema and the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award by the Cine Central Film Society. Three times National Award winning director, she has also served on juries at many international/national film festivals, such as International Film Festival of India, Moscow International Film Festival, and the Hawaii International Film Festival.
Aparna Sen, who was listed among the 100 best looking Indian women of the century is currently the Editor of a famous Bengali Monthly women's Magazine 'Sananda' published by Ananda Bazar Patrika group, where her editorials tackle social issues. Independent in her life, Aparna didn't have the sweetest married life. She married thrice and has three daughters. Presently married to a professor Kalyan Ray residing in the US, she has tried to make long distance relationship work. Konkona Sen Sharma, daughter of Aparna Sen and well known writer Mukul Sharma is a national award winning actress for the film Mr. and Mrs. Iyer. Aparna on a personal front loves cooking, talking to her grand daughter and indulging in the occasional poetry. This multitalented woman is now busy working on her latest film 'Gulel' in Hindi.
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