Monday, September 28, 2009


“Unlike other contemporaries of his time like Ray and Ghatak, Mrinal Sen stood alone. Unlike other spokesman of Nehruvian world view, he is not a chronicler. He does not accept the prevailing humanist view of things and weave his films around them. He is nothing if he is not critic, analyst, commentator, rebel- all rolled into one. Evident to his work is readiness to embrace plural, multicultural aspects that make for the living quality and the rich texture of Indian society.”
- Chidanand Das Gupta in ‘Seeing is Believing’

Ghinua (Mithun) is an ace hunter and a young son of tribal chief. He is upright man and never obey to any injustice. During his free time he hunts and gifts various animals to an English officer (Bada Sahib) frequently. Both of them share a common passion of hunting. Once in order to take revenge of an innocent Shalpu, he killed a human beast Gobind Sarkar, the oppressive feudal landlord who sucks tribal blood from ages. He is charged for murder in the court and hanged until death in the emotional climax. We can clearly see through the narration that Imperial Justice plays double standard in the prosecution. The illiterate, poor, selfless tribal man who killed the oppressor is regarded as heinous criminal who got capital punishment and powerful, rich and affluent official who murdered Shalpu comes out scot free and also got big award.
Sen introduced a fine actor through this film who later becomes India’s first self proclaimed disco-dancer. Mithun Chakravorty won a National Award as Best Actor in his debut film. Sen has maintained his character absolutely tribal in all minute detailing of his character. The film also has few other recognized Bengali art house actors like Mamta Shankar,the daughter of the famous dancers Uday and Amala Shanker, and is the niece of Ravi Shankar and Sadhu Meher, who started his acting career in Sen’s ‘Bhuvan Shome’ in 1969. For both Mithun Chakraborty and Mamata Shankar it was their first film. Mrinal Sen met Mithun at the Poona Film Institute, during one of his visits, when Mithun was a student there.

Apart of its tribal story and theme of protagonist’s self sacrifice in the search for freedom and life against oppression, Mrigaya is also well made documentary on Santhal tribes who became crippled under feudal landlord order and ruling colonization of British Government. Although film depicts the gloomy conditions of Tribes; it also makes us aware of significant tribal customs and processions.
Ratings- 8/10

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