Read more below

By APARNA SEN TURNS THE CAMERA ON HERSELF IN ITI MRINALINI. T2 CATCHES THE ACTION Kushali Nag Who do you like better Aparna the actress or Aparna the director? Tell t2@abpmail.com
  • Published 12.11.09
Aparna explains a scene to co-actor Priyanshu Chatterjee; the director gets ready for a shot. (Aranya Sen)


“Where is the Charlie Chaplin photograph? Put it above the television,” yells Aparna Sen before slipping behind the camera. A life-size portrait of hers is also hanging on one of the walls of the set created by Indranil Ghosh. The sound of “lights, camera, action” has returned to Calcutta Movieton studio at Tollygunge’s 28A Chandi Ghosh Road, which reopened after 25 years with Iti Mrinalini.

The studio was once owned by yesteryear star Kanan Devi, who sold it to businessman Jagdish Bagri in 1985. “I had no intention to run a studio back then but now Tollywood is big,” said Bagri. Iti Mrinalini producer Shree Venkatesh Films has taken two floors on hire for the film shoot.

“The studio is spread across 160 cottahs and there are two floors. We plan to build seven-eight floors more. Five AC make-up rooms are under construction,” added Bagri. The two floors will soon be air-conditioned, but for now Sen has pedestal fans to keep her cool.

Isn’t it tough to act and direct at the same time?

It’s very difficult being a director and an actor in your own film. In fact I am very upset because my most important scenes are being done at the end of the day when I am completely exhausted. I have to finish with everybody else and then start shooting my portions. So it really upsets me and I think it’s a little unfair (laughs).

How much of Aparna Sen is Mrinalini?

Well, as much as all my films have Aparna Sen in them, that is it’s always based on the sensibilities of Aparna Sen. If you are asking me if it’s a biography of mine, then it’s not. I mean this is not my life history. I have never been in love with a Naxal boy, I have never had a baby out of wedlock and I have never tried to commit suicide! But I have seen all this. The only part of Aparna Sen that’s there in Mrinalini is in her love for literature. Mrinalini is a bit of an intellectual and yet she is acting in mainstream films. So that is the only similarity.

Who’s in charge of direction when you turn actor?

In the scenes where I am acting I am leaving the direction to my DoP (Somak Mukherjee) and my workshop director Sohag Sen. Once the shot is over, I check it on the monitor.

You hair and make-up are done in the Seventies style...

I used to have this kind of hairstyle in my earlier films which was also used for Konkona in this film... the same kind of wave and all that. The bouffant is making me a little nostalgic!

Are you missing Konkona?

I am missing her on the sets, I am missing her at home... I am just missing her.

Calcutta Movieton has come alive with Iti Mrinalini after a long time...

Yes, I am shooting in Movieton after a long time. I had shot here for Hangsha Mithun, which was one of my earliest films. After that we didn’t shoot here much, maybe one or two other films.