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Aparna Sen

Aparna Sen
File:Aparna Sen - Kolkata 2014-01-31 8137.JPG
Sen during the 38th International Kolkata Book Fair (2014)
Native name অপর্ণা সেন
Born Aparna
(1945-10-25) 25 October 1945 (age 70)
Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
Occupation actor, film director, screenwriter
Awards Cinemanila Film Festival – Best Film
1982 36 Chowringhee Lane
Cinemanila Film Festival – Best Screenplay
2003 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
Mumbai International Film FestivalFIPRESCI Prize
2000 Paromitar Ek Din
Karlovy Vary Film Festival – Ecumenical Jury Award
2000 Paromitar Ek Din
Hawaii Film Festival – Best Feature Film
2002 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
Locarno Film FestivalNetpac Award
2003 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
Locarno Film Festival – Youth Jury Award
2003 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
Philadelphia Film Festival – Best Feature
2003 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
New York Indian Film Festival-Best Director

Aparna Sen (née Dasgupta) (Ôporna Shen; born 25 October 1945) is an Indian filmmaker, screenwriter and actress. She is the winner of three National Film Awards and nine international film festival awards.


Aparna Sen was born in Calcutta to a Bengali family, originally from Jessore District, Bangladesh. Her father is the veteran critic and filmmaker Chidananda Dasgupta. Her mother Supriya Dasgupta was a prominent costume designer and earned National Film Award for Best Costume Design for Aparna's directorial venture Amodini (1995), at the age of 73. Supriya is the cousin of renowned Bengali poet Jibanananda Das. She spent her childhood in Hazaribagh and Kolkata and had her schooling in South Point High School Kolkata, India.

She studied her B.A. English at Presidency College.

Acting career

Sen made her film debut at the age of 15, when she played the role of Mrinmoyee in the Samapti portion of the 1961 film Teen Kanya (Three Daughters) directed by Satyajit Ray (who was a longtime friend of her father's). She then studied at Kolkata's Presidency College.

Later in life she would work with Satyajit Ray in several of his films, including the short Pikoo (1981) where she played the role of an adulterous wife and mother.

In 1965, Sen resumed her film career in Mrinal Sen's Akash Kusum, which was later remade into a Hindi film Manzil starring Amitabh Bachchan and Moushumi Chatterjee. Later she also brought out the different nuances of a widow in Mrinal Sen's Mahaprithibi for which she was awarded the prize for Best Actress at the Moscow Film Festival. . From then until the end of the 1970s, she worked steadily in the Bengali film industry, as a leading heroine of the time. She acted in a few Hindi films as well during this time, including Imaan Dharam (1977) with Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar and Rekha. Sen was successful in mainstream Bengali films. Her chemistry with Soumitra Chatterjee in films such as Basanta Bilap, Baksa Badal and Chhutir Phande was loved as much as her work with Uttam Kumar in films like Joy Jayanti, Memshaheb and Alor Thikana.

In 1969, Sen appeared in The Guru, an English-language feature by Merchant Ivory Productions. She would make two more films with Merchant-Ivory, Bombay Talkie (1970), and Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures (1978).

In 2009, Sen appeared with Sharmila Tagore and Rahul Bose in Annirudh Roy-Chowdhary's Bengali film Antaheen. The film went on to win four National Film Awards.[1]


In 1981, Sen made her debut as a film director with 36 Chowringhee Lane. She also wrote its screenplay. The film, about an aged Anglo-Indian teacher living in Calcutta, won positive reviews from critics. For her debut feature, Sen won the Best Director award at the Indian National Film Awards. 36 Chowringhee Lane also won the Grand Prix (the Golden Eagle) at the Manila International Film Festival.

She followed up this early success with several other films, notably Paroma (1984) winning the Silver Lotus at the National Awards for Best Bengali Film, Sati (1989), which won the National Award for Best Original Screenplay, and Yugant (1995), which won the National Award for Best Bengali Film. Paroma examined the feminine condition in modern-day India from different perspectives. She also starred in Unishe April (1994), the film by Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh.

Sen's next directorial effort Paromitar Ek Din (2000) was a critical hit and recalled the success of her first film. The film explored the relationship between a divorced woman (Rituparna Sengupta) and her mother-in-law, played by Sen herself. It won a number of awards on the international festival circuit and the National Award for Best Bengali Films.

Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002) was a love story set against the harsh backdrop of Hindu-Muslim sectarian violence in India. The film won a National Film Award for Sen's direction, and an acting award for Konkona Sen Sharma, the director's daughter. The film won more awards at the Locarno, Hawaii and Manila film festivals.

15, Park Avenue (2005) starred her daughter and the actors Shabana Azmi, Dhritiman Chaterji, Waheeda Rehman, Rahul Bose and Soumitra Chatterjee. The film deals with a girl (Konkona Sen Sharma) who is a schizophrenic and her relations with her elder stepsister, played by Shabana Azmi. It won the National Award for Best English Film.

Her next film, The Japanese Wife (2010), starred Raima Sen, Rahul Bose and Chigusa Takaku. This film focuses on two women and is based on a short story by West Bengal author Kunal Basu. It won Best Feature Film at the Calgary International Film Festival in Canada and the Audience Award at the Kerala film Festival.

Sen has made selective films and in the last three decades of her career, she has made only nine films and one telefilm (Picnic, 1989).

In 2009, Sen announced her next Bengali film Iti Mrinalini, which starred Konkona Sen Sharma, Aparna Sen, Rajat Kapoor, Kaushik Sen, and Priyanshu Chatterjee. First-time screenwriter Ranjan Ghosh co-authored Iti Mrinalini. This was the first time that Sen collaborated with any film writer or became attached to the curriculum of a film institute. The screenplay of Iti Mrinalini was an assignment in the Screenwriting syllabus at the Mumbai-based film school Whistling Woods International.[2] It was also a major first in Indian screenwriting, as the first time that any screenplay from an Indian film institute was actually filmed.[3] The film was released on 29 July 2011.

In 2013, her film Goynar Baksho was released depicting three generations of women and their relationship to a box of jewels. It ran to packed houses and won critical acclaim from reviewers and critics.[citation needed]. Sen's last Bengali film was Goynar Baksho (2013).

Personal life

Sen has been married three times. Her first marriage, to Sanjay Sen, was when she was quite young. Her second husband was the science writer and journalist, Mukul Sharma. They later divorced amicably. Sen is presently married to Kalyan Ray, an author and professor of English who teaches at County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey, US. She has two daughters, Kamalini and Konkona—who is also an actress—& her son-in-law is Ranvir Shorey and three grandchildren Krittika, Deepto and Haroon.

Other achievements

In 2008, Sen was elected into the International Jury of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

From 1986 to 2005, Sen was the editor of the fortnightly Sananda, a Bengali women's magazine (published by the Ananda Bazar Patrika group) that enjoys equal popularity in West Bengal and Bangladesh. From November 2005 to December 2006, she was associated with the Bengali 24x7 infotainment channel Kolkata TV as Creative Director. At present she is the editor of the magazine Parama of Sarada Group. As the editor of "Parama", Aparna Sen earned Rs 7 lakhs per month, which made her one of the highest paid journalists in India. However, it has been found that "Parama" was run by Saradha Group financial scandal, the chit fund company, which swindled thousands of people in West Bengal, Assam and Bihar. In an interview with Rituparna Ghosh, Aparna Sen said that her activism is not driven by any desire to be in the limelight. It seems her activisms and her opinions against the erstwhile regime in West Bengal was motivated by her commitment to pro-Trinamul crooks who were her employers.

In 1986, the then President of India, Giani Zail Singh bestowed the Padma Shri to Sen in recognition of her contribution to Indian cinema. Since then, she has received several lifetime achievement awards, and served on juries at film festivals around the world. In 1989 she was a member of the jury at the 16th Moscow International Film Festival.[4]



Year Film Role Other notes
1955 Mejo Bou
1961 Teen Kanya Mrinmoyee "Samapti" segment
1965 Akash Kusum Monica
"Baksa Badal" Minu
1968 Hangsa-Mithun
1969 Vishwas
The Guru Ghazala
Aparachito Sunita
1970 Padmagolap
Aranyer Din Ratri Hari's former lover
Kalankita Nayak
Bombay Talkie Mala
1971 Khunjey Berai
"Bombay Talkies"
Jay Jayanti Jayanti
1972 "Nayikar Bhumikay"
"Jiban Saikate"
1973 Ali Baba (Animated film) Marjina
"Shesh Pristhay Dekhun"
"Epaar Opaar"
"Bilet Pherat"
"Nakal Sona"
Sonar Khancha
Kaya Hiner Kahini
Basanta Bilap Anuradha
Rater Rajanigandha
1974 "Sujata"
Jadu Bansha
Alor Thikana
Sagina Secretary Vishaka Devi
1975 "Kajallata"
Chhutir Phande
Raag Anurag
1976 Jana Aranya Somnath's ex-girlfriend
Nidhiram Sardar
1977 Immaan Dharam Shyamlee
"Ajasra Dhanyabad"
Kotwal Saab
1978 "Hullabaloo Ovrer Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures" Bonnie
1979 Naukadubi Kamala
1981 Thee, Tamil starring Rajinikanth & Suman remake of Deewar Anita
"Bandi Balaka"
1982 "Bijoyini"
Amrita Kumbher Sandhane
1983 Bishabriksha Suryamukhi
Abhinoy Noy
Indira Indira
1984 Paroma Sheela
"Mohanar Dike"
1985 Neelkantha
1986 Shyam Saheb
1987 Debika
"Ekanta Apan"
"Jar Jey Priyo"
1989 Kari Diye Kinlam
1990 Ek Din Achanak Professor's student
1991 "Mahaprithivi" Daughter-in-law
1992 Shwet Patharer Thala Bandana
1995 "Amodini"
1996 Unishe April Sarojini
Abhishapta Prem
2000 Paromitar Ek Din Sanaka
Ghaath Suman Pandey
2002 Titli Urmila
2009 Antaheen Paromita
2011 Iti Mrinalini Old Mrinalini Mitra aka Mili
2014 Chotushkone Trina Sen

Writer and director

Year Film Notes
1981 36 Chowringhee Lane Won, National Film Award for Best Direction
Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English
1984 Paroma Won, National Film Awards, BFJA Award for best Director.
1989 Sati
1995 Yugant Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali
2000 Paromitar Ek Din Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali, Won-"Kalakar Award for Best Director".
2001 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer Won, National Film Award for Best Direction
Won, Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration
Won, National Film Award for Best Screenplay
2005 15 Park Avenue Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English
2010 The Japanese Wife Released 9 April 2010[5]
2011 Iti Mrinalini Won-Kalakar Award-Best Director Award
2013 Goynar Baksho Released 12 April 2013

Nominated, Filmfare Awards East for Best Director

2015 Arshinagar


  • "Padmashri"-the fourth highest civilian award by the Government of India in 1986.
  • BFJA Award-Best Actress Award for "Aparachito" in 1970.
  • BFJA Award-Best Actress Award for "Sujata" in 1975.
  • BFJA Award-Best Actress Award for "Ekanto Apan" in 1988.
  • BFJA Award-Best Actress Award for "Swet Patharer Thala" in 1993.
  • BFJA Award-Best Actress Award for "Paramitar Ek Din" in 2001.
  • BFJA Award-Best Supporting Actress Award for "Mahaprithibi" in 1992.
  • BFJA Award-Best Supporting Actress Award for "Abhishapta Prem" in 1997.
  • BFJA Award-Life Time Achievement Award in 2013.
  • Anondalok Award-Best Actress in 2001.
  • Anondalok award-Best Actress for "Titlee" in 2002.
  • Kalakar Award-Best Actress (Stage) Award for Bhalo Kharab Meye in 1993.

Further reading

  • Parama and other outsiders: the cinema of Aparna Sen, by Shoma A. Chatterji. Parumita Publications, 2002. ISBN 81-87867-03-5.
  • Aparna Sen calls the shots (Women in Indian film), by Rajashri Dasgupta. Zubaan, 2009.


  1. ^ "Bollywood wins big at National Film Awards". Reuters India. 23 January 2010. Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  2. ^ "There's no luck without hard work". dnaindia. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  3. ^ "Iti Mrinalini". Facebook. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "16th Moscow International Film Festival (1989)". MIFF. Retrieved 24 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "Aparna Sen's 'The Japanese Wife' to be released on April 9". Outlook India. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010. 

External links

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