My relationship with the cinema of Mrinal Sen is somewhat paradoxical. On the one hand, I have seen (and this I confess with the requisite amount of shame and self-reproach) very little of his cinema. On the other hand, one of my earliest memories of watching a Hindi film is of one of Mrinal Sen’s films: Mrigyaa, which I probably watched when I was about nine years old and, perhaps to my own surprise, understood at least more than I would have been expected to.
But, to come to the point. When I heard of the passing away of Mrinal Sen a few days ago, it seemed appropriate to finally watch and review one of his films. Trying to find a subtitled version of one of his earlier Bengali films might have been difficult at short notice, but Bhuvan Shome held out more promise. Not just in Hindi (it was Mrinal Sen’s first Hindi film), but also such a classic that it was fairly easy to track down.
Last week I watched Shichi-nin No Samurai. Earlier this week, The Magnificent Seven (which was based on Shichi-nin No Samurai). So, logical progression? Next in line ought to be a film based on The Magnificent Seven. Saat Hindustani. Going by the law of averages (or should that be the law of diminishing merit?), I guess I shouldn’t have held out much hope for this one. Shichi-nin No Samurai is far superior to The Magnificent Seven, and The Magnificent Seven is light years ahead of Saat Hindustani.