My Father, My Friend
A behind-the-scenes look at the life of filmmaker Mrinal Sen through the eyes of his son Kunal, who grew up immersed in the world of Indian cinema.
“No one remembers when and why I started calling my father Bondhu. It was a strange way to address a father, as the word means ‘friend’ in Bengali. . . . As I got older, I became very self-conscious about such an odd name . . . and yet I cannot explain why I could not switch to the more acceptable Baba or something similar.”
Just as Kunal Sen, son of actor Gita Sen and filmmaker Mrinal Sen, was approaching adolescence, his father’s cinematic celebrity was reaching new heights. In this memoir, Kunal reflects on growing up in a middle-class household in South Calcutta, where his father’s Marxist beliefs and unrelenting urge “to be challenged and contradicted” often collided with the practical challenges of making a living. Through it all, what emerges is a picture of a family’s unyielding commitment to the craft of cinema, the risks each of its members took, and their endearing sense of humor. Celebrating Mrinal Sen’s birth centenary in 2023, Bondhu takes us on an intimate journey of a son attempting to reconcile his father’s public and private selves.
198 pages | 30 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2023
Publisher: Seagull Books
International Distribution: University of Chicago Press