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Mani Shankar Mukherjee
7 December 1933
|Occupation||Writer, novelist, essayist, researcher|
|Known for||Books on Swami Vivekananda, Bengali novels|
Sankar is the son of Avaya Mukherjee known as Gouri Mukherjee. Sankar's father died while Sankar was still a teenager, as a result of which Sankar became a clerk to the last British barrister of the Calcutta High Court, Noel Frederick Barwell. At the same time he entered in Surendranath College (formerly Ripon College, Calcutta) for study. He worked in various field as typewriter cleaner, private tutor, Hawker for the livelihood.
Noel Barwell introduced Sankar to literature.
After Noel Barwell's sudden death, Sankar, the professional version of his name adopted for the law courts, sought to honor Barwell. "First, I wanted to build a statue. It was not possible. I then wanted to name a road. Even that was not feasible. And then I decided to write a book about him," according to Sankar.
That impetus led to his first novel, about Barwell, that according to some critics is perhaps the most stimulating -- "Kato Ajanare" (So Much Unknown).
At the same time period in 1962, Sankar conceived Chowringhee on a rainy day at the waterlogged crossing of Central Avenue and Dalhousie - a busy business district in the heart of Kolkata. The novel, set in the opulent hotel he called Shahjahan, was made into a cult movie in 1968.
It is wrongly said that Sankar marketed his literary work to Bengali households with the marketing slogan "A bagful of Sankar (Ek Bag Sankar)" and collections of his books were sold in blue packets through this marketing effort. He never did that. He mentioned it clearly in a 2015 interview.
In addition to his literary efforts, Sankar is regarded as a street food expert with two books on this topic. He also is a marketing professional associated with an Indian industrial house.
- Jekhane Jemon (travelogue) (As It Is There)
- Kato Ajanare (novel) (The Many Unknowns) - his debut novel.
- Nivedita Research Laboratory (novel)
- Abasarika ISBN 978-81-7612-777-6
- Chowringhee (novel) (1962)
- Swarga Martya Patal- (collection of three stories: Jana Aranya (The Middleman), Seemabaddha (Company Limited) and Asha Akangsha)
- Gharer Madhye Ghar
- Nagar Nandini
- Banglar Meye ISBN 978-81-7079-454-7
- Simanta Sambad ISBN 978-81-7079-554-4
- Kamana Basana ISBN 978-81-7079-978-8
- Purohit Darpan
- Sri Sri Ramkrishna Rahsyamrito
- Mone Pare
- Mansamman (1981)
- Samrat O Sundari (novel)
- Charan Chhunye Jai ISBN 978-81-7079-528-5
- Jaabar Belay ISBN 978-81-7267-066-5
- Mathar Opor Chhad
- Patabhumi ISBN 978-81-7612-637-3
- Rasabati ISBN 978-81-7612-637-3
- Ek Bag Sankar (collection)
- Kamana Basana ISBN 978-81-7079-978-8
- Sonar Sangsar
- Chhayachhabi (collection)
- Muktir Swad
- Subarno Sujog
- Charan Chhunye Jai(Vol 2) ISBN 978-81-7612-888-9
- Eka eka ekashi
- Rup tapos
Works in translation
- Chowringhee translated by Arunava Sinha into English ISBN 978-0-14-310103-1 and ISBN 978-1-84354-913-0. Translation is pending into Italian. In 2013 the novel has been translated into French by Dr Philippe Benoit, sanskritist and head of Bengali department of Paris National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations (INALCO), published by Gallimard house.
- The Middleman translated by Arunava Sinha from "Jana Aranya" into English ISBN 978-0-14-306671-2.
- The Great Unknown translated by Soma Das from "Kato ajanare" into English ISBN 978-0-670-08443-2.
- Thackeray Mansion translated by Sandipan Deb from "Gharer Madhye Ghar" into English ISBN 978-0-143-42006-4.
- Many of Sankar's works have been made into films. Some notable ones are - Chowringhee, Jana Aranya and Seemabaddha, out of which the last two were directed by Satyajit Ray .
- In 1959 Ritwik Ghatak started making a film Kato Ajanare based on Sankar's first novel.
- I am happy I had a ticket to ride in the 50s: novelist Sankar Indo-Asian News Service, 22 August 2008
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