Sen during the 38th International Kolkata Book Fair
25 October 1945
Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
|Occupation||actor, film director, screenwriter|
|Awards||Cinemanila Film Festival – Best Film
1982 36 Chowringhee Lane
Cinemanila Film Festival – Best Screenplay
2003 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
Mumbai International Film Festival – FIPRESCI Prize
2000 Paromitar Ek Din
Karlovy Vary Film Festival – Ecumenical Jury Award
2000 Paromitar Ek Din
Hawaii Film Festival – Best Feature Film
2002 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
Locarno Film Festival – Netpac Award
2003 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
Locarno Film Festival – Youth Jury Award
2003 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
Philadelphia Film Festival – Best Feature
2003 Mr. and Mrs. Iyer
Aparna Sen (née Dasgupta) (Bengali: অপর্ণা সেন Ôporna Shen; born 25 October 1945) is an Indian-Bengali filmmaker, screenwriter and actress who predominantly works in the cinema of West Bengal. She is the winner of three National Film Awards and eight international film festival awards.
Aparna Sen was born in Calcutta to a Bengali family, originally from East Bengal (now Bangladesh). Her father is the veteran critic and filmmaker Chidananda Dasgupta. Her mother Supriya Dasgupta is the cousin of renowned Bengali poet Jibanananda Das. She spent her childhood in Hazaribagh and Kolkata and had her schooling in Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata, India.
She studied her B.A. English at Presidency College.
She met the Magnum photographer, Brian Brake, in Kolkata in 1961 when he was visiting India to photograph his Monsoon series. Brake used Sen as the model for what was to become one of his most well known photographs – a shot of a girl holding her face to the first drops of monsoon rain. The photo shoot was set up on a Kolkata rooftop with a ladder and a watering can. Sen described the shoot:
He took me up to the terrace, had me wear a red sari in the way a village girl does, and asked me to wear a green stud in my nose. To be helpful, I said let me wear a red one to match, and he said no — he was so decisive, rather brusque — I think a green one. It was stuck to my nose with glue, because my nose wasn't pierced. Someone had a large watering can, and they poured water over me. It was really a very simple affair. It took maybe half an hour. Brian Brake later referred to me as The Monsoon Girl! 
Sen made her film debut at the age of 15, when she played the role of Mrinmoyee in the Samapti portion of the 1961 film Teen Kanya (Three Daughters) directed by Satyajit Ray (who was a longtime friend of her father's). She then studied at Kolkata's Presidency College.
Later in life she would work with Satyajit Ray in several of his films, including the short Pikoo (1981) where she played the role of an adulterous wife and mother.
In 1965, Sen resumed her film career in Mrinal Sen's Akash Kusum, which was later remade into a Hindi film Manzil starring Amitabh Bachchan and Moushumi Chatterjee. Later she also brought out the different nuances of a widow in Mrinal Sen's Mahaprithibi for which she was awarded the prize for Best Actress at the Moscow Film Festival. . From then until the end of the 1970s, she worked steadily in the Bengali film industry, as a leading heroine of the time. She acted in a few Hindi films as well during this time, including Imaan Dharam (1977) with Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar and Rekha. Sen was successful in mainstream Bengali films. Her chemistry with Soumitra Chatterjee in films such as Basanta Bilap, Baksa Badal and Chutir Fande was loved as much as her work with Uttam Kumar in films like Joy Jayanti', "Memshaheb" and Alor Thikana.
In 1969, Sen appeared in The Guru, an English-language feature by Merchant Ivory Productions. She would make two more films with Merchant-Ivory, Bombay Talkie (1970), and Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures (1978).
In 1981, Sen made her debut as a film director with 36 Chowringhee Lane. She also wrote its screenplay. The film, about an aged Anglo-Indian teacher living in Calcutta, won positive reviews from critics. For her debut feature, Sen won the Best Director award at the Indian National Film Awards. 36 Chowringhee Lane also won the Grand Prix (the Golden Eagle) at the Manila International Film Festival.
She followed up this early success with several other films, notably Paroma (1984) winning the Silver Lotus at the National Awards for Best Bengali Film, Sati (1989), which won the National Award for Best Original Screenplay, and Yugant (1995), which won the National Award for Best Bengali Film. Paroma examined the feminine condition in modern-day India from different perspectives. She also starred in Unishe April (1994), the film by Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh.
Sen's next directorial effort Paromitar Ek Din (2000) was a critical hit and recalled the success of her first film. The film explored the relationship between a divorced woman (Rituparna Sengupta) and her mother-in-law, played by Sen herself. It won a number of awards on the international festival circuit and the National Award for Best Bengali Films.
Mr. and Mrs. Iyer (2002) was a love story set against the harsh backdrop of Hindu-Muslim sectarian violence in India. The film won a National Film Award for Sen's direction, and an acting award for Konkona Sen Sharma, the director's daughter. The film won more awards at the Locarno, Hawaii and Manila film festivals.
15, Park Avenue (2005) starred her daughter and the actors Shabana Azmi, Dhritiman Chaterji, Waheeda Rehman, Rahul Bose and Soumitra Chatterjee. The film deals with a girl (Konkona Sen Sharma) who is a schizophrenic and her relations with her elder stepsister, played by Shabana Azmi. It won the National Award for Best English Film.
Her next film, The Japanese Wife (2010), starred Raima Sen, Rahul Bose and Chigusa Takaku. This film focuses on two women and is based on a short story by West Bengal author Kunal Basu. It won Best Feature Film at the Calgary International Film Festival in Canada and the Audience Award at the Kerala film Festival.
Sen has made selective films and in the last three decades of her career, she has made only nine films and one telefilm (Picnic, 1989).
In 2009, Sen announced her next Bengali film Iti Mrinalini, which starred Konkona Sen Sharma, Aparna Sen, Rajat Kapoor, Kaushik Sen, and Priyanshu Chatterjee. Sen's last Bengali film was Paromitar Ek Din (2000). First-time screenwriter Ranjan Ghosh co-authored Iti Mrinalini. This was the first time that Sen collaborated with any film writer or became attached to the curriculum of a film institute. The screenplay of Iti Mrinalini was an assignment in the Screenwriting syllabus at the Mumbai-based film school Whistling Woods International. It was also a major first in Indian screenwriting, as the first time that any screenplay from an Indian film institute was actually filmed. The film was released on 29 July 2011.
In 2013, her film Goynar Baksho was released depicting three generations of women and their relationship to a box of jewels. It ran to packed houses and won critical acclaim from reviewers and critics.
Sen has been married three times. Her first marriage, to Sanjay Sen, was when she was quite young. Her second husband was the science writer and journalist, Mukul Sharma. They later divorced amicably. Sen is presently married to Kalyan Ray, an author and professor of English who teaches at County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey, US. She has two daughters, Kamalini and Konkona—who is also an actress—and three grandchildren Krittika, Deepto and Haroon.
In 2008, Sen was elected into the International Jury of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.
From 1986 to 2005, Sen was the editor of the fortnightly Sananda, a Bengali women's magazine (published by the Ananda Bazar Patrika group) that enjoys equal popularity in West Bengal and Bangladesh. From November 2005 to December 2006, she was associated with the Bengali 24x7 infotainment channel Kolkata TV as Creative Director. At present she is the editor of the magazine Parama of Sarada Group.
In 1986, the then President of India, Giani Zail Singh bestowed the Padma Shri to Sen in recognition of her contribution to Indian cinema. Since then, she has received several lifetime achievement awards, and served on juries at film festivals around the world. In 1989 she was a member of the jury at the 16th Moscow International Film Festival.
|1961||Teen Kanya||Mrinmoyee||"Samapti" segment|
|Aranyer Din Ratri||Hari's former lover|
|Kaya Hiner Kahini|
|Sagina||Secretary Vishaka Devi|
|1976||Jana Aranya||Somnath's ex-girlfriend|
|1981||Thee, Tamil starring Rajinikanth & Suman remake of Deewar||Anita|
|1982||Amrita Kumbher Sandhane|
|1989||Kari Diye Kinlam|
|Ek Din Achanak||Professor's student|
|Jar Jey Priyo|
|1992||Shet Patharer Thala||Bandana|
|2000||Paromitar Ek Din||Sanaka|
|2011||Iti Mrinalini||Old Mrinalini|
Writer and director
|1981||36 Chowringhee Lane||Won, National Film Award for Best Direction
Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English
|1984||Paroma||Won, National Film Awards 1986|
|1995||Yugant||Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali|
|2000||Paromitar Ek Din||Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali|
|2001||Mr. and Mrs. Iyer||Won, National Film Award for Best Direction
Won, Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration
Won, National Film Award for Best Screenplay
|2005||15 Park Avenue||Won, National Film Award for Best Feature Film in English|
|2010||The Japanese Wife||Released 9 April 2010|
|2011||Iti Mrinalini||Released 29 July 2011|
|2013||Goynar Baksho||Released 12 April 2013
- Parama and other outsiders: the cinema of Aparna Sen, by Shoma A. Chatterji. Parumita Publications, 2002. ISBN 81-87867-03-5.
- Aparna Sen calls the shots (Women in Indian film), by Rajashri Dasgupta. Zubaan, 2009.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aparna Sen.|
- "Monsoon Girl's daughter takes out top movie honour". Stuff.co.nz. 11 June 2008. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "Bollywood wins big at National Film Awards". Reuters India. 23 January 2010. Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
- "There's no luck without hard work". dnaindia. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- "Iti Mrinalini". Facebook. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- "16th Moscow International Film Festival (1989)". MIFF. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
- "Aparna Sen's 'The Japanese Wife' to be released on April 9". Outlook India. 24 February 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
- Aparna Sen at the Internet Movie Database
- Interview with Aparna Sen
- Profile at calcuttaweb.com
- MyBindi.com interview
- Rediff interview, 2002
- Rediff profile, 1999
- Rediff interview, 1998