Aparna Sen is an Indian director, scriptwriter, and actor who predominantly works in the Bengali film industry. She has won nine National Film Awards and nine international film festival awards for her acting and filmmaking skills. In 1987, she was awarded the Padma Shri.
Aparna Sen was born as Aparna Dasgupta on Thursday, 25 October 1945 (age 77 years; as of 2022) in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. She did her schooling at South Point School in Kolkata and Modern High School for Girls in Kolkata. Aparna spent her childhood in Kolkata and Hazaribagh (Jharkhand). She pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Presidency College in Kolkata.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Dark Brown
Eye Colour: Black
Aparna Sen belongs to a Baidya family from Bengal.
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Chidananda Dasgupta, was a veteran critic, filmmaker, and one of the founders of the Calcutta Film Society with Satyajit Ray in 1947. Her father died on 22 May 2011 at the age of 89. In 1944, he got married to Supriya Dasgupta, who was a costume designer. In 1995, when Supriya Dasgupta was 73 years old, she earned the National Film Award for Best Costume Design for her husband’s directorial venture ‘Amodini.’
Husband & Children
Aparna Dasgupta got married to Sanjay Sen at a very young age, but the marriage didn’t last long. She then got married to Mukul Sharma, who was a science writer and journalist; however, they divorced in 1985. Mukul died on 1 March 2019.
Aparna got married to Kalyan Ray, who is an English author and professor at the County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey (USA).
Aparna Sen has two daughters named Kamalini Chatterjee and Konkona Sen with her ex-husband, Mukul Sharma.
Aparna Sen is a relative of the Bengali poet Jibanananda Das.
Aparna considers herself a secular and liberal person.
The Jamat gathering was a dangerous & criminal act & must not go unpunished! Yes, I am a secularist & a liberal, but I cannot support any act that goes against the laws of my country by anyone, whether they be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Sikh, Aethist, Agnostic or whatever!
— Aparna Sen (@senaparna) April 3, 2020
In 1961, at the age of 16, Aparna made her acting debut with the Bengali film ‘Teen Kanya’ in which she played the role of Mrinmoyee.
Later, she worked in many Bengali films including Aranyer Din Ratri (1970), Jana Aranya (1976), Pikoo (1980), and Antaheen (2009).
Aparna Sen appeared in the Hindi film Imaan Dharam (1977) in which she worked alongside actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha.
Aparna continued to appear in Hindi movies including ‘Ek Din Achanak’ (1989) and ‘Ghaath’ (2000).
In 1981, Aparna made her directorial debut with the Bengali film ’36 Chowringhee Lane,’ which was produced by Shashi Kapoor. Aparna’s elder daughter, Kamalini Chatterjee, also played a role in this film. Aparna directed several Bengali films including Iti Mrinalini (2009), Goynar Baksho (2013), and 15 Park Avenue (2005). In 2022, she directed a Hindi film titled ‘The Rapist,’ starring her daughter, Konkona Sen Sharma, and actor Arjun Rampal.
From 1986 to 2005, Aparna was associated with the Bengali women’s magazine ‘Sananda’ as an editor. She worked as a creative director at Kolkata TV, a Bengali 24×7 infotainment channel for a year. In 2011, she became the editor of Paroma magazine. After the Saradha Group financial scandal, the company shut down. In 2013, Aparna and the editorial team of Paroma magazine launched a new magazine ‘Prothoma Ekhon.’
Apart from directing, Aparna Sen also wrote the films ‘The Rapist’ (2022) and ‘Sonata’ (2017).
Saradha Group financial scandal 2013
In 2013, when the Saradha Group financial scandal took place, the magazine Paroma was one of the 200 private companies that went into loss and got shut down. Reportedly, Aparna Sen, the editor of Paroma magazine, was grilled by the ED officials for more than five hours during which she was asked questions regarding the financial transactions. The Enforcement Directorate accused Aparna of receiving INR 75 lakh as remuneration from Saradha. Paroma finally closed down on 14 April 2013. The Indian Express
FIR by Kalyan Chaube
In September 2022, the BJP North Kolkata district president, Kalyan Chaube, filed an FIR against Aparna Sen for making statements like calling the BSF personnel ‘rapists’ and ‘murderers,’ claiming that the military had been given more power than it should get. Hindustan Times
Letter to PM
On 23 July 2019, around 49 celebrities across India wrote a letter to PM Narendra Modi in which they expressed their concern about the intolerance in the country. The letter claimed that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ chants had become a war cry, creating communal tension in the society. They also requested the Prime Minister to address the tragic events including the killing of Dalits, Muslims, and other minorities in the country. Aparna Sen joined this campaign and was criticized heavily after she was confronted and asked a series of questions by LIVE TV during which she remained silent.
'Intolerance' lobby back: Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen & 47 others write to PM Modi; claim 'Jai Shri Ram now a provocative war-cry'https://t.co/cy3fJNz9Yy
— Republic (@republic) July 24, 2019
Awards, Honours, Achievements
Padma Shri – 1987
National Film Awards
- Best Direction for 36 Chowringhee Lane in 1981
- Best Feature Film in English for 36 Chowringhee Lane in 1981
- Best Feature Film in Bengali for Paroma in 1984
- Best Feature Film in Bengali for Yugant in 1995
- Best Feature Film in Bengali, for Paromitar Ek Din in 2000
- Best Direction for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2002
- Best Screenplay for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2002
- Best Feature Film in English for 15 Park Avenue in 2005
- Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2002
Nargis Dutt Awards
- Best Feature Film on National Integration for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2002
- Best Actress Award for Sujata in 1974
- Best Actress Award for Asamaya in 1976
- Best Actress Award for Bijoyini in 1982
- Best Actress Award for Indira in 1983
- Best Director Award for Parama in 1985
- Best Actress Award for Aparachito in 1970
- Best Actress Award for Sujata in 1975
- Best Director Award for Parama in 1986
- Best Screenplay Award for Parama in 1986
- Best Actress Award for Ekanto Apan in 1988
- Best Supporting Actress Award for Mahaprithibi in 1992
- Best Actress Award for Swet Patharer Thala in 1993
- Best Supporting Actress Award for Unishr April in 1997
- Babulal Chowkhani Memorial Trophy for Original Story-Yugant in 1997
- Best Actress Award for Paramitar Ek Din in 2001
- Babulal Chowkhani Memorial Trophy for Original Story and Screenplay for Paramitar Ek Din in 2001
- Most Outstanding Work of the Year for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2003
- Best Director Award at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne for The Rapist in 2022
- Life Time Achievement Award in 2013
- Indian singer(s): Ustad Amir Khan, Late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and Ustad Rashid Khan
- English Singer(s): Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, and Mozart
- Sitarist: Nikhil Bandopadhyay
- Author(s): Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Roald Dahl, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Novel: The Family Moskat by Isaac Bashevis Singer
- Film: Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001) (a Mexican road film)
- Filmmaker: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
- In 1960, New Zealand photographer Brain Brake was working on a photo series on monsoons and the people affected by them. He captured Aparna Sen, who was then 14 years old, on the terrace of her home with her eyes closed and enjoying the rain on her face. The water was coming from a garden hose. Aparna’s photo was published as the cover picture in Life Magazine the following year.
- In an interview, Aparna said that she once read Mahabharata and found Krishna very fascinating. The Telegraph
- The screenplay of Iti Mrinalini has been given as an assignment at the Mumbai-based film school Whistling Woods International to the screenwriting students.
- In an interview, Aparna once said that since childhood, she liked to read every night before sleeping. The Telegraph
- Out of the 12 films in which Aparna Sen and actor Uttan Kumar appeared together, 10 of them were critically acclaimed and turned out to be box office hits. The 1972 film ‘Memsahib’ is considered one of their best works.
|↑1||The Indian Express|
|↑3, ↑4||The Telegraph|