Aparna Sen

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Aparna Sen
Aparna Sen - Kolkata 2014-01-31 8137.JPG
Sen at the 38th International Kolkata Book Fair in 2014
Aparna Dasgupta

(1945-10-25) 25 October 1945 (age 76)[citation needed]
  • Actress
  • director
  • screenwriter
Years active1961–present
Spouse(s)Sanjay Sen
Mukul Sharma
Kalyan Ray
Children2, including Konkona Sen Sharma
AwardsFull list

Aparna Sen (née Dasgupta, Ôporna Shen; born 25 October 1945) is an Indian film director, screenwriter and actress who is known for her work in Bengali cinema. She has received several accolades as an actress and filmmaker, including nine National Film Awards, five Filmfare Awards and thirteen Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards. For her contribution in the field of arts, the Government of India honoured her with Padma Shri, the country's fourth highest civilian award.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Sen was born in a Bengali Baidya family, originally from Cox's Bazar in Chittagong District (now in Bangladesh).[citation needed] Her father was the veteran critic and filmmaker Chidananda Dasgupta. Her mother Supriya Dasgupta was a costume designer and earned the National Film Award for Best Costume Design for Chidananda's directorial venture Amodini (1995), at the age of 73. Sen is a relative of Bengali poet Jibanananda Das.[2] Sen spent her childhood in Hazaribagh and Kolkata and had her schooling first at South point and later at Modern High School for Girls, Kolkata, India.[citation needed] She studied for her B.A. in English at Presidency College, but did not complete the degree.[citation needed]



Sen's foray into the world of entertainment happened when she was fifteen and was photographed by Brian Brake for the well-known photo from his 1960 "Monsoon" series of photographs; the photo appeared on the cover of Life.[3]

Sen made her film debut at the age of 16, 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).[citation needed] She went on to appearing in up to four films made by the director including Aranyer Din Ratri, Jana Aranya and Pikoo.

Four years after her first film, in 1965, Sen acted in Akash Kusum, a Mrinal Sen film where she played the part of Monica. Sen has been an imminent part of the Bengali film industry, playing the lead in popular films like Basanta Bilap(1973) and Memsaheb(1972) amongst others. Sen has also been a part of Hindi films such as Imaan Dharam(1977), Ek Din Achanak(1989) and Ghaath(2000).

In 2009, Sen appeared with Sharmila Tagore and Rahul Bose in Annirudh Roy-Chowdhary's Bengali film Antaheen. The film went on to win four National Film Awards.[4] In 2019, Sen acted in prominent Bengali films including Bohomaan and Basu Poribar.


In 2009, Sen announced her next Bengali film Iti Mrinalini, which starred Konkona Sen Sharma, Aparna Sen, Rajat Kapoor, Kaushik Sen, and Priyanshu Chatterjee. 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.[5] It was also a major first in Indian screenwriting, as the first time that any screenplay from an Indian film institute was actually filmed.[6] The film was released on 29 July 2011.

In 2013, her film Goynar Baksho (The Jewellery Box) 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.[7] Thereafter, in 2015, Arshinagar, an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet was released.[8]

In 2017, Sonata—an English film written and directed by Sen—was released. Adapted from a play by Mahesh Elkunchwar, the film examines the life of three middle-aged unmarried friends played by Aparna Sen, Shabana Azmi and Lillete Dubey.[9]

In 2021, she directed her 3rd Hindi film The Rapist, starring her daughter Konkona Sen Sharma and Arjun Rampal. In her interview with the Firstpost, she said that The Rapist will be a “hard-hitting drama that examines how much of society is responsible for producing rapists.”[10] The film is nominated for Kim Jiseok award at 26th Busan International Film Festival to be held in October 2021.[11]


Aparna Sen receiving the Best Direction Award for the year 2002 from The President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.


Sen has 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.[12] In 2008, she was elected into the International Jury of the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. In 2013, she headed the jury of the second Ladakh International Film Festival.[13]

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. In 2011 she took charge as the editor of the magazine Paroma launched by the Saradha Group.[14] Following the Saradha Group financial scandal, Paroma ran into trouble. It finally closed down on 14 April 2013. Sen and her editorial team launched a new magazine called Prathama Ekhon, which was short-lived.[15]

In 1987, the then President of India, Giani Zail Singh bestowed the Padma Shri on Sen in recognition of her contribution to Indian cinema. Since then, she has received several lifetime achievement awards.[16]



  • 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.


  1. ^ "Aparna Sen — A River Plunging into its Own Depths". Journal of Indian Cinema. 25 October 2020. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  2. ^ "Aparna Sen Gets Candid At DIFF". The Daily Star. 17 January 2018. Archived from the original on 16 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Monsoon girl". Te Papa. Archived from the original on 14 October 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Bollywood wins big at National Film Awards". Reuters India. 23 January 2010. Archived from the original on 26 January 2010. Retrieved 2 February 2010.
  5. ^ "There's no luck without hard work". dnaindia. Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
  6. ^ "Iti Mrinalini". Facebook. Archived from the original on 12 October 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  7. ^ Dutt, Anjan (20 April 2013). "GOYNAR BAKSHO DECODED 1". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 17 January 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  8. ^ "Aparna Sen's latest film 'Arshinagar' is a Bengali adaptation of 'Romeo and Juliet' featuring Dev". IBNLive. 1 December 2015. Archived from the original on 4 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  9. ^ Rosario, Kennith (21 April 2017). "'Sonata' review: A play pretending to be a film". The Hindu. India. Archived from the original on 8 June 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  10. ^ "Konkona Sensharma, Arjun Rampal to lead Aparna Sen directorial The Rapist; filming will begin in March". Firstpost. 12 February 2021. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  11. ^ Dasgupta, Priyanka (6 September 2021). "Aparna Sen's 'The Rapist' to compete for Busan's Kim Jiseok award". Times of India. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  12. ^ "16th Moscow International Film Festival (1989)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 March 2013. Retrieved 24 February 2013.
  13. ^ "Aparna Sen to head Ladakh international film festival jury". The Times of India. 13 June 2013. Archived from the original on 12 October 2020. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Paroma, the fortnightly magazine of Saradha launched by CM". Events at Saradha Realty. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  15. ^ Sengupta, Reshmi (21 August 2014). "Why I did not quit". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 16 April 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  16. ^ "25 years of Aparna Sen's sensibility". Hindustan Times. 5 January 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2021.

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