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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Oscars do not make 'Slumdog' great film: Mrinal Sen

Agencies - May 14, 2009

Eminent filmmaker Mrinal Sen is not impressed with the representation of Mumbai's ghettos in 'Slumdog Millionaire' and believes that Oscar awards are not the ultimate parameter of good cinema. 

The Dada Saheb Phalke award winner says that some of the greatest filmmaker Chaplin never won an Oscar for their cinema. 

"I don't think that Oscars are the parameter for quality work. Did any of Chaplin or Satyajit Ray film get Oscars? I don't remember that any of such great filmmakers had ever received this award," Sen, who turns 87 , said. 

(Satyajit Ray was honoured by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with an honourary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1992) The filmmaker said that the ghetto to glory theme in 'Slumdog Millionaire' was not very appealing. 

"Though I have not seen the movie but it must be a bad film. I don't think that 8 Oscars make it a great film. I don't understand what they want to show by the story of a slum dweller becoming a millionaire. The theme is not appealing," said Sen. 

Pioneer of 'new wave cinema' in India with his 1969 Hindi film 'Bhuvan Shome', Sen is one of the most respected names in Indian cinema alongside Satyajit Ray and Ritiwik Ghatak. He has made over 30 films besides scripting and producing several films in 50 years of his career. 

Sen's path breaking cinema has been inspired by Marxist movement and social issues. 

Maker of classics like 'Bhuvan Shome', 'Raat bhor' and 'Mrigya', Sen is disappointed with present day cinema. "I don't like today's movies. I have seen some of them but did not like them at all. Let us not talk about them," the seasoned filmmaker said. 

Sen's desire to experiment and revise has not changed over the years as he has the same creative hunger though he has not made any film after 2002 'Amar Bhuvan' 

"Everyday I get up, I think of writing a new script. I have been doing so since last 7 years. I don't know what I am going to do. But I feel one year younger on my every birthday," the filmmaker said. 

"I wish I can relive my whole life and make some more meaningful cinema. I want to do many things I could not do earlier. Every time I look back to my work I think it was a dress rehearsal and I can do better but I know that it can not be done again," he said. 

The filmmaker is upset over the lack of proper preservation system for classics as Sen fears that he may lose some of his recent works like Shabana Azmi starrer 'Khandhar: 1984' as it is not in good shape. 

The master prints of Sen's sixties classics like Saumitra Chatterjee and Kanika Majumdar starrer 'Punashcho (once again) and 'Pratinidhi' (representative) have been destroyed while the sound of 'Aakashe Bhor' and 'Calcutta 71' is in danger. 

"We urgently need a proper restoration system for our cine heritage. I have lost master prints of some of my good work. I don't have money to save my movies. 

"There have been talks with the central government and I hope that something will be materialised in this regard after the elections," said Sen. 

The iconic filmmaker has been awarded Padma Bhushan and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest distinction given for contribution in the field of Indian cinema. He is also the recipient of French government's Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters award. 

His 'Bhuvan Shome' is considered one of the greatest films in the history of Indian cinema. The film which was made on a shoe-string budget is credited for starting the new wave cinema in India.


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