Nandana Sen

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Nandana Sen
Nandana sen 2010(2).jpg
at the Tagore Literature Awards.
Born (1967-08-19) 19 August 1967 (age 49)[1]
Calcutta, West Bengal, India
(now Kolkata)
Residence India, United States
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Actor, activist, writer
Years active 1997-present (Latest release - Rang Rasiya, 2014)
Organization Current Ambassadorship in Operation Smile, UNICEF, RAHI
Spouse(s) John Makinson (2013–present)
Madhu Mantena (ex partner)[2]
Parent(s) Amartya Sen
Nabaneeta Dev Sen

Nandana Sen is an Indian actress, screenwriter, children's author and child-rights activist. Her first vehicle in Bollywood was the Rani Mukherjee and Amitabh Bachchan starrer Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Black (2005) in which she played the role of Rani’s 17-year-old younger sister. Sen gave a highly proclaimed performance in the role and the film was applauded by both audience and critics,[3][4][5] earning her a nomination for Breakthrough Performance of the Year. Time Magazine (Europe) selected the film as one of the 10 Best Movies of the Year 2005 from across the globe.[6]

After teaming up on a succession of projects with Indian directors including Ram Gopal Varma and Ketan Mehta, Sen signed for one of the principal roles in the jarring, terrorist-themed American drama The War Within (2005) which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival[7] and, in the process, both made a name for herself[8] and began to cultivate a reputation for being drawn to offbeat, challenging, and demanding roles, often with a social or political theme.[9]

Early life[edit]

Sen is the daughter of Nobel Laureate and Bharat Ratna economist Amartya Sen and Padma Shri winner Nabanita Dev Sen, one of the most prominent authors in the contemporary Bengali literature. Her elder sister Antara Deb Sen is a journalist. Nandana Sen's first piece of writing was published when she was a child in the magazine Sandesh, selected by Satyajit Ray.[10] She spent her growing years in various cities across Europe, India and America.

Education[edit]

Nandana Sen studied literature at Harvard University, where she was awarded the Detur Prize in her first year for topping her class,[11] and thereafter every year she also won both the John Harvard Scholarship and the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Award for Academic Achievement of the Highest Distinction. As a Junior, she was elected early into the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa. Subsequently, Sen studied Film Producing at the Peter Stark Producing Program at the USC Film School. She wrote and directed various short films, including her thesis film "Arranged Marriage" which was shown at multiple film festivals. As an actor, Nandana trained at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, New York, as well as the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London.

Professional life[edit]

Child Rights[edit]

Along with acting in theatre and films internationally, Nandana also promotes the cause of child protection. Nandana is Smile Ambassador for the global children’s NGO Operation Smile,[12] UNICEF India's National Celebrity for Child Protection and against Gender Based Violence,[13] and Cause Ambassador for RAHI (India's first organization to break the silence about child sexual abuse).[14] She collaborates with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) as a Child Rights Expert and Juror for Public Hearings.[15] Nandana has been actively fighting to stop the crisis of child trafficking in India,[16][17] both with organizations such as the NCPCR and the Terre des hommes foundation[17][18] as well as addressing this topic in cinema.[9] She has been invited to speak on the cause of child protection in international conferences, including the Global Call to Action Summit for Child Survival and Development organized by USAID[16][19][19] and the International Comprehensive Cleft Care Conference of 2013.[20] Whenever possible, Nandana Sen has combined her commitment to child rights with her acting work,[21] including originating the role of the traumatized protagonist of the play "30 Days in September" (Prithvi Theatre) and the film "Chuppee/ The Silence" on Child Abuse (UNIFEM).[16][22][23][24]

Cinema[edit]

Sen has starred in over 20 feature films from multiple countries and in various languages (see Filmography). Her portrayal of Sugandha in her latest release Rang Rasiya (2014) has been hailed by critics as "pitch-perfect,"[25] "superb,"[26] "divine, elegant, and enticing,"[27] "innocent and vulnerable,"[28] "fearless, uninhibited,"[29] "radiant in every frame",[30] "poignant, lustrous",[31] "stunning"[32] and "as refined as it is bold".[33] Sen’s pathbreaking performance[29][34] as artist Ravi Varma’s muse in this historical romance on the religious censorship of art), subsequently won her the prestigious Kalakar Award for Best Actress in 2015: in her acceptance speech, Nandana went on record saying that the award honours "the greater cause of free speech and expression, now under enormous threat everywhere, as shown by the horrifying Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris. The need to protect our creative freedom – whether we are actors or journalists, film-makers or novelists – is more urgent now than ever."[35]

However, controversial acting choices,[21][34][36] Best Actress Awards,[37][38][39][better source needed][40] and critical acclaim[41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48] are not unique in Nandana Sen’s unconventional career.[34] Sen experienced her first taste of cinema while still a student when director Goutam Ghose tapped her to play the lead in his dark and disturbing psychodrama The Doll (Gudia)[49] as one of the targets of a middle-age man's sexual obsession, which premiered at the Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival. Sen was first seen on Indian screens as Rani Mukerji's younger sister in Satjay Leela Bhasali's prize-winning film Black. Sen's portrayal of a vulnerable teenager was not only critically appreciated[3][4][5][6] but also earned her a nomination for Breakthrough Performance of the Year (Stardust Awards, 2005).

In the anti-war film Tango Charlie, Sen played the female lead opposite Ajay Devgan (also starring Sanjay Dutt and Bobby Deol) and with Anil Kapoor in My Wife's Murder. Both of these movies did well with critics.[50] Nandana followed this by signing lead roles opposite Salman Khan in the bilingual Hollywood-Bollywood film Marigold,[51] and Vivek Oberoi in Prince, at the same time playing the protagonist in unconventional but acclaimed films such as Strangers[52] and The Forest.

The British television series Sharpe increased her notability. The episode ‘Sharpe’s Peril’ featured Sen in a pivotal role.[53] In 2007, Sen signed on to portray a young rebellious woman fleeing from law authorities in director Shamim Sarif's lesbian-themed period drama The World Unseen. In 2010, Nandana starred in the Bengali super-hit Autograph,[54] for which she was awarded the TeleCine Award for Best Actress and the Reliance BIG Bangla Rising Star Award.

In theatre as in film, Sen has often played an artist’s muse and has been critically appreciated each time, including the off-Broadway production "Modigliani,"[55] the Bengali blockbuster "Autograph,"[42] and her latest release, "Rang Rasiya".[56] A favorite cover-girl of leading magazines for women as well as men, such as Femina,[57] Savvy,[58] FHM,[59] Man’s World[60] and Maxim,[61] Sen is known as much for her performances as for being comfortable with her sexuality and for speaking her mind:[34] "My body is as much a part of my humanity as my brain, my morals, and my heart, and I will never be ashamed of expressing it with the dignity and self-respect it deserves."[62]

Writing[edit]

Sen, whose professional choices have included a tenure as a literary editor at Houghton Mifflin Company, and as Princess Jasmine in Disneyland, is also a children's book author, a screenwriter,[63] a maker of short films,[64] and a published writer in multiple genres, including poetry,[65][66] narrative non-fiction,[67][68][69] and Op Eds.[70][71][72][73] She has authored three children's books, Not Yet! (Tulika Books, 2017), Mambi and the Forest Fire (Puffin, 2016)[1], and Kangaroo Kisses (Otter-Barry Books, 2016)[2], and has three more forthcoming in 2017 (including Love Book[3]). Sen also writes a monthly fiction series for The Wire entitled Youthquake[4], and has edited and published a bilingual book of her mother's Bengali poetry (iUniverse,2013).[5] Sen's first original screenplay to be made into a film was Forever, funded by Telefilm Canada.[74] She was commissioned by Divani Films to adapt R.K. Narayan’s novel Waiting For the Mahatma into a film script, and by Big Bang Company to write an original script focusing on a father-daughter relationship. Sen is collaborating on a script about the history of the kiss in Indian cinema, with Italian filmmaker Franco La Cecla.[75] Represented by Andrew Wylie, of the Wylie Agency, Sen is also writing a book on three generations of rule-defying Bengali women, tentatively titled "Shamelessly Female",[10] which grew from an essay she published with the same title.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Sen married John Makinson, Chairman of Penguin Random House, in June 2013.[76]

She previously dated an Indian film producer, Madhu Mantena, for few years.[citation needed]

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Country Role Language Notes
1997 The Doll / Gudia India Rosemary Braganza / Urvashi Hindi credited as Nandana Dev Sen
1999 Branchie Italy Italian
Forever Canada Nadia English Short feature
2000 Seducing Maarya Canada Maarya English
2002 Bokshu, The Myth US/India English
2004 The Miracle: A Silent Love Story India
2005 The War Within USA Duri Choudhury English
My Wife's Murder India Reena Wadhwa Hindi
Tango Charlie India Shyamoli Hindi
Black India Sara McNally Hindi
2006 The Silence / Chuppee India Short feature
2007 The World Unseen UK Rehmat English
Strangers UK/ India Preeti English / Hindi
Marigold USA Jaanvi English / Hindi
2008 Sharpe's Peril UK Maharani Padmini English bbTV Movie
2009 Kaler Rakhal India Bengali
Perfect Mismatch USA Neha English
2010 Autograph India Srinandita Bengali
Prince India Serena Hindi
Jhootha hi sahi India Suhana Malik Hindi
2012 The Forest India Radha English / Hindi
2014 Rang Rasiya India Sugandha Hindi

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Birthday Special: Nandana Sen's HOTTEST avatars". Rediff. 19 August 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  2. ^ "Nandana Sen: All my big decisions in life made sense to no one but me - Times of India". 
  3. ^ a b Elley, Derek (2005-02-15). "Black". Variety. 
  4. ^ a b "Black movie review : glamsham.com". www.glamsham.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  5. ^ a b http://www.sify.com/movies/bollywood/preview.php?ctid=5&cid=2425&id=13663000
  6. ^ a b "Movie Review : Black". Sify.com. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  7. ^ Koehler, Robert (2005-10-04). "The War Within". Variety. 
  8. ^ "The War Within | Arts | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  9. ^ a b "Nandana the maneater". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 2012-05-10. 
  10. ^ a b Chopra, Anupama (2012-01-28). "Newswallah: Bollywood Edition". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Amartya Sen's daughter Nandana meticulously handles her passion from movies to non-profit work". The Times Of India. 2013-05-22. 
  12. ^ Operation Smile India - News & Press - News
  13. ^ "Celebrities Speak | UNICEF". www.unicef.org. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  14. ^ RAHI - Recovering and Healing from Incest
  15. ^ TWF India-"Child abuse a neglected crisis in India"
  16. ^ a b c All, And (2013-03-03). "Gender sensitivity is a matter of life & death". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 
  17. ^ a b "'State ranks second in child trafficking'". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2013-02-20. 
  18. ^ "Nandana Sen to fight against child trafficking - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  19. ^ a b "My work in child protection has been integral to my life: Nandana Sen - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  20. ^ https://www.operationsmile.org.in/news/news/index.phtml?news_num=1151
  21. ^ a b "Nandana Sen: "In Our Film Industry, 'Sexy' Implies A Total Absence Of Intellect!" : MagnaMags". www.magnamags.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  22. ^ "Amartya Sen's daughter Nandana meticulously handles her passion from movies to non-profit work". timesofindia-economictimes. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  23. ^ "My work in child protection has been integral to my life: Nandana Sen - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  24. ^ Kamath, Sudhish (2013-02-25). "Sen and sensibility". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 
  25. ^ "Rang Rasiya Movie Review - NDTV Movies". 
  26. ^ "Rang Rasiya review: A passionate but flawed ode". 
  27. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/entertainment/reviews/rang-rasiya-review-the-randeep-hooda-starrer-is-much-more-than-a-period-film/article1-1283218.aspx#pq=FYJbqq
  28. ^ "Rang Rasiya review: A stunning visual treat : MagnaMags". www.magnamags.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  29. ^ a b "Review: Rang Rasiya is an important film". Rediff. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  30. ^ Basu, Mohar. "Rang Rasiya Review | Koimoi". www.koimoi.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  31. ^ "Rang Rasiya Movie Review, Trailer, & Show timings at Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  32. ^ Hungama, Bollywood. "Rang Rasiya / Colors of Passion Review - Bollywood Hungama". 
  33. ^ "Movie Review: Rang Rasiya". 
  34. ^ a b c d "IndiaGlitz - Nandana Sen: From controversy to kudos - Bollywood Movie News". www.indiaglitz.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  35. ^ "Paris attack: Nandana Sen makes Charlie Hebdo the star!". India.com. 2015-01-27. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  36. ^ "Embracing nudity was a difficult decision to make: Nandana Sen - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  37. ^ "IndiaGlitz - Nandana Sen: From controversy to kudos - Bollywood Movie News". 
  38. ^ "Whats On App". 
  39. ^ Autograph (2010 film)
  40. ^ "Sizzling Nandana Sen - itimes". 
  41. ^ "Modigliani". TheaterMania.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  42. ^ a b Weissberg, Jay (2010-11-09). "Autograph". Variety. 
  43. ^ variety.com/1997/film/reviews/the-doll-2-1200450340/
  44. ^ Young, Deborah. "Autograph -- Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  45. ^ "The War Within | Arts | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  46. ^ "Komal Nahta's Blog". Komal Nahta's Blog. 2014-11-08. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  47. ^ "Rang Rasiya Movie Review: Randeep Hooda-Nandana Sens RANG RASIYA brings alive colours of life! | glamsham.com". www.glamsham.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  48. ^ "Movie Review: Rang Rasiya an important story that needed to be told". indiatoday.intoday.in. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  49. ^ Stratton, David (1997-06-02). "The Doll". Variety. 
  50. ^ "Tango Charlie - movie review by Shahid Khan - Planet Bollywood". www.planetbollywood.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  51. ^ Debruge, Peter (2007-08-16). "Marigold". Variety. 
  52. ^ "Strangers movie review : glamsham.com". www.glamsham.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  53. ^ "Sean Bean And Nandana Sen Cross Sharpe Swords In Orcha! - Planet Bollywood News". www.planetbollywood.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  54. ^ "Autograph - Prosenjit Chatterjee, Nandana Sen - Bengali Movie (2010) - Shree Venkatesh Films Production - Cinergy Pictures". www.venkateshfilms.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  55. ^ "Modigliani". 
  56. ^ "Rang Rasiya Movie Review - NDTV Movies". NDTVMovies.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  57. ^ "Femina August 27, 2008 Nandana Sen Feroze Gujral Zaheer Khan Women's Magazine". 
  58. ^ "Nandana Sen: "In Our Film Industry, 'Sexy' Implies A Total Absence Of Intellect!" : MagnaMags". 
  59. ^ "Nandana Sen FHM 2". 7 February 2010. 
  60. ^ "Nandana Sen Talks". Man's World India. 2014-11-05. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  61. ^ "Nandana-sen-on-the-cover-of-maxim". Nandana-sen-on-the-cover-of-maxim - Bollywood Hot Models. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  62. ^ "Female bodies are often treated as objects in showbiz: Nandana Sen". mid-day. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  63. ^ "She's no doll, nor a moll". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 2003-05-29. 
  64. ^ http://wonderwoman.intoday.in/photo/10-things-you-would-love-to-know-about-nandana-sen/1/4304.html#photo10 short films
  65. ^ "Most Read : Nandana Sen's Blog : nandana.sen - Times Of India Blog". Archived from the original on 2013-08-05. 
  66. ^ "nandanasen.net" (PDF). www.nandanasen.net. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  67. ^ "Special News, Special Stories, Special Reports, Hot News Today, Blogs, Editorial - Midday". mid-day. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  68. ^ "Nandana shocked at Durga ma in bikini top! - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 2009-09-26. 
  69. ^ "When another umbrella flew off exposing my first almost-kiss". The Times Of India. 
  70. ^ "Pass By On The Sidewalk, Without Looking". outlookindia.com/. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  71. ^ "‘Gender sensitivity is a matter of life and death all of us are accountable’". indianexpress.com. Retrieved 2016-04-30.  C1 control character in |title= at position 1 (help)
  72. ^ "Special News, Special Stories, Special Reports, Hot News Today, Blogs, Editorial - Midday". mid-day. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  73. ^ "Special News, Special Stories, Special Reports, Hot News Today, Blogs, Editorial - Midday". mid-day. Retrieved 2016-04-30. 
  74. ^ "Forever". 
  75. ^ "Nandana Sen: I'll trace the journey of the Indian kiss - The Times of India". The Times Of India. 
  76. ^ http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/nandana-sen-secretly-marries/1/286633.html