21 September, 2020

Haranath, Who?

He gives Bengali cinema the hits. It's a whole industry out there—their films don't go to festivals or win awards.

Haranath, Who?
Mrinal Sen is very angry. He has just seen the teaser for a forthcoming film, and thinks it's downright vulgar. The risque line—for a story about a man who feels shortchanged about his flat-chested wife—is full of double entendre. "Is this cinema?" Sen asks, livid. "When the director called to invite me for a special screening, I refused to go. I told him his teasers were in vary bad taste." Then, calming down, the senior filmmaker says, regretfully: "Young filmmakers are cheapening cinema. Who'll want to watch their films?"

A veteran of Bengal's film industry, Sen has seen its many ups and downs—through the Golden era of Bengali cinema when Sen, Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak were the toast of festivals; through the time when the works of Tarun Majumdar and Tapan Sinha or the Uttam Kumar-Suchitra Sen romances drew huge crowds. A little over a decade ago, when business hit doldrums and many theatres downed shutters and studios went to tatters. But no one was this worried about Bengali films finding an audience. Lately, a strange thing has happened to the industry:...


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