Jul 30, 2014

3rd Aug 2014; Mirnal Sen's EK DIN PRATIDIN

Ek Din Pratidin
A film by Mirnal Sen
1979 / Bengali / Col / 91 mins
3rd August 2014; 5.45pm ; Prks Mini Theater

The opening shot of Ek Din Pratidin is of a rickshaw passing through the narrow alley of a deserted residential street, framed between the discolored, weather-beaten walls of a pair of dilapidated boarding houses. This curious image of decaying structure and narrowed field of view proves to be an incisive preface to the claustrophobia, entrenched social class, and inescapable scrutiny that befalls a middle-class family when the family's sole wage earner, the eldest daughter Chinu (Mamata Shankar), fails to come home from work at the usual hour.

When late afternoon turns to evening and Chinu has still not returned home, the parents' reactions to Chinu's unexplained absence begin to betray the underlying social rigidity and cultural myopia that has trapped them in their present circumstances. 
Despite the family's attempt to keep Chinu's absence a private matter, her disappearance soon becomes the main topic of conversation (and conjectural gossip) among the prying neighbors, polarizing their opinions within the spectrum of those who see the situation as the intrinsic folly and lamentable consequence of women's independence and others who recognize the hypocrisy innate in the family's financial dependency on the young, unmarried woman and their ingrained, patriarchal expectations of her continued subservience.

The mise en scène and camerawork of the film reinforce this hierarchical relationship.  The film’s plot covers only one night. Though only 91 minutes in length Ek Din Pratidin is a powerful film, developing a melodramatic situation, fraught with perils for the characters. 

Yet it also encourages the audience to step back and consider the economic and cultural forces that develop the melodrama in a particular way. Sen beautifully subverts this type of story and situation, but allows the audience to both involve themselves in that story whilst [possibly] considering and understanding its position in the larger social scheme.
(Source : Internet – excerpts from Strictly Film School and other reviews)


Mrinal Sen was born on May 14, 1923, in the town of Faridpur, now in Bangladesh. His interest in films started after he stumbled upon a book on film aesthetics. He eventually took a job of an audio technician in a Calcutta film studio, which was the beginning of his film carrier.

Mrinal Sen made his first feature film in 1953. His third film, Baishey Shravan (Wedding Day) was his first film that gave him international exposure. Mrinal Sen never stopped experimenting with his medium. In his later films he tried to move away from the narrative structure and worked with very thin story lines.

Mrinal Sen’s film have received awards from almost all major film festivals, including Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Moscow, Karlovy Vary, Montreal, Chicago, and Cairo. Retrospectives of his films have been shown in almost all major cities of the world. Apart from his films, he has also received a number of personal honors.  He received the Padma Bhushan, and in 2005 he was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest honor given to an Indian filmmaker, by the Government of India. He was also an honorary Member of the Indian Parliament from 1998 to 2003. The French government awarded him the Commandeur de l'ordre des Arts et letters (Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters), the highest honor conferred by the country. In 2001 The Russian government honored him with the Order of Friendship. He has also received a number of honorary Doctorate degrees from various universities.

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