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A brush with Suchitra Sen
- 60 canvases of screen goddess lined up for December display

For years, the screen goddess has been the veiled woman. But she continues to invade our homes every day on one Bengali channel or another and her face continues to launch a thousand publications and more.

This December, Suchitra Sen’s fans will have a chance to spend some time with her at Gaganendra Pradarshashala. Well, not quite. They will get to gaze at 60 canvases depicting our very own Greta Garbo through the decades. And pick up a six-page calendar of the screen legend looking her loveliest. The labour of love comes from ‘devotee’ Anit Mukerjea, grandson of freedom-fighter Surendra Nath Banerjee, with an assurance from Moon Moon Sen that she will be on hand to unveil the portraits of her mother.

“The idea was born while I was mourning the death of my mother in 1992. One day, I noticed an old snapshot of Suchitra Sen, picked up a pen and started sketching. A family member saw my work and suggested that I do a series on the actress. That just did it,” recounts Anit. A decade later, he is finally ready with 60 portraits of Suchitra Sen.

“Anit has been a family friend for years. I don’t remember any such exhibition on my mother and will be happy to inaugurate it,” says Moon Moon. “I would rather support someone coming out with a collection of paintings on my mother than with a book. For, those who know her will never write about her and those who write about her don’t know her,” adds the actress.

The December display promises to throw up some rare frames of the fantasy woman. Aurora Films, Ranjit Pictures and Chhayabani have lent Anit several never-seen stills from Suchitra’s films. Ashish Acharya, spokesperson for Chhayabani, said: “He (Anit) has been picking up pictures from Harano Sur, Uttar Falguni and Saptapadi. Some of these have never been published before and could lend a different dimension to the exhibition.”

Anit, working with watercolour, acrylic, oils and other mediums, concurs: “The rare stills have helped me focus on a different line of thought, digressing from the oft-beaten path. Emerging from one painting will be three different facets of the actress.” And no one’s complaining. The less we see of Suchitra Sen, the more we want to see of Suchitra Sen.

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