Aparna Sen is an Indian director, scriptwriter, and actor who predominantly works in the Bengali film industry. She was awarded the Padma Shri (1987) and won nine National Film Awards and nine international film festival awards for her direction in films.
Aparna Sen was born Dasgupta on Thursday, 25 October 1945 (age 77 years; as of 2022) in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India (present-day Kolkata, West Bengal, India). She did her schooling at South Point School in Kolkata and Modern High School for Girls in Kolkata. Aparna spent her childhood in Kolkata and Hazaribagh (Jharkhand). She pursued a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Presidency College in Kolkata.
An old picture of Aparna Sen
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Hair Colour: Dark Brown
Eye Colour: Black
Aparma Sen belongs to a Bengali Baidya family.
Parents & Siblings
Her father, Chidananda Dasgupta, was a veteran critic, filmmaker, and one of the founders of Calcutta Film Society with Satyajit Ray in 1947. Her father died on 22 May 2011 at the age of 89. In 1944, he got married to Supriya Dasgupta, who was a costume designer. In 1995, when Supriya Dasgupta was 73 years old, she earned the National Film Award for Best Costume Design for her husband’s directorial venture ‘Amodini.’
A picture of Aparna Sen’s parents, Chidananda Dasgupta and Supriya Dasgupta
Husband & Children
Aparna Sen got married to Sanjay Sen at a very early age. Then, she got married to Mukul Sharma, who was a science writer and journalist; however, they divorced in 1985. Mukul died on 1 March 2019.
Aparna Sen’s former husband, Mukul Sharma, with their daughter Konkona Sen Sharma
Aparna got married to Kalyan Ray, who is an English author and professor at the County College of Morris in Randolph, New Jersey (USA).
Aparna Sen with her husband, Kalyan Ray
Aparna Sen has two daughters named Kamalini Chatterjee and Konkona Sen with her former husband, Mukul Sharma.
Aparna Sen’s elder daughter, Kamalini, during the premiere of Aparna’s film ‘Sonata’ (1970)
Aparna Sen and her younger daughter, Konkona Sen Sharma
Aparna Sen is a relative of the Bengali poet Jibanananda Das.
Aparna considers herself a secularist and a liberal.
The Jamat gathering was a dangerous & criminal act & must not go unpunished! Yes, I am a secularist & a liberal, but I cannot support any act that goes against the laws of my country by anyone, whether they be Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Jew, Sikh, Aethist, Agnostic or whatever!
— Aparna Sen (@senaparna) April 3, 2020
Aparna Sen’s autograph
In 1961, at the age of 16, Aparna made her film debut with the Bengali film ‘Teen Kanya’ in which she played the role of Mrinmoyee.
Aparna Sen in a still from the 1961 film ‘Teen Kanya’ (1961)
Later, she worked in many Bengali films including Aranyer Din Ratri (1970), Jana Aranya (1976), Pikoo (1980), and Antaheen (2009).
Aparna Sen appeared in Hindi films such as Imaan Dharam(1977) in which she worked alongside actors Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha.
Aparna Sen as Shyamlee in a still from the film Immaan Dharam (1977)
Ek Din Achanak(1989), and Ghaath(2000).
In 1981, Aparna made her directorial debut with the Bengali film ’36 Chowringhee Lane,’ which was produced by Shashi Kapoor. Aparna’s elder daughter, Kamalini Chatterjee, also played a role in this film. Aparna directed several Bengali films including Iti Mrinalini (2009), Goynar Baksho(2013), and 15 Park Avenue (2005). In 2022, she directed a Hindi film titled ‘The Rapist’ starring her daughter, Konkona Sen Sharma, and actor Arjun Rampal.
The Rapist (2022)- directed by Aparna Sen
From the year 1986 to 2005, Aparna was associated with the Bengali women’s magazine ‘Sananda’ as an editor. She worked as a creative director at Kolkata TV, a Bengali 24×7 infotainment channel for a year only. In 2011, she became the editor of Paroma magazine. After the Saradha Group financial scandal, the company shut down. In 2013, Aparna and the editorial team of Paroma magazine launched a new magazine ‘Prathama Ekhon.’
Apart from directing, Aparna Sen also wrote the films such as The Rapist (2022) and Sonata (2017).
Saradha Group financial scandal 2013
In 2013, when the Saradha Group financial scandal took place, the magazine Paroma was one of the 200 private companies that went into loss and got shut down. Reportedly, Aparna Sen, the editor of Paroma magazine, was grilled for more than five hours during which she was asked questions regarding the financial transactions. The Enforcement Directorate accused Aparna of receiving INR 75 lakh as remuneration from Saradha for the period in which she served as the editor. Paroma finally closed down on 14 April 2013.
FIR- by Kalyan Chaube
In September 2022, the BJP North Kolkata district president, Kalyan Chaube, filed an FIR against Aparna Sen for making statements like calling the BSF personnel ‘rapists’ and ‘murderers,’ claiming that the military is being given more power than it should get, and for the West Bengal Government to empathise the people living at the border regions.
Letter to PM
On 23 July 2019, around 49 celebrities across India wrote a letter to PM Narendra Modi in which they expressed their concern about the intolerance in the country under the rule of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The letter claimed that ‘Jai Shri Ram’ chants have become a war cry and that the tragic events including the killing of Dalits, Muslims, and other minorities must be stopped. Aparna Sen joined this campaign and was criticized heavily after she was confronted and asked a series of questions by LIVE TV during which she remained silent.
‘Intolerance’ lobby back: Anurag Kashyap, Aparna Sen & 47 others write to PM Modi; claim ‘Jai Shri Ram now a provocative war-cry’https://t.co/cy3fJNz9Yy
— Republic (@republic) July 24, 2019
Awards, Honours, Achievements
Padma Shri – 1987
National Film Awards
- Best Direction for 36 Chowringhee Lane in 1981
- Best Feature Film in English for36 Chowringhee Lane in 1981.
- Best Feature Film in Bengali for Paroma in 1984.
- Best Feature Film in Bengali for Yugant in 1995.
- Best Feature Film in Bengali, for Paromitar Ek Din in 2000.
- Best Direction for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2002.
- Best Screenplay for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2002.
- Best Feature Film in English for 15 Park Avenue in 2005.
- Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2002.
Nargis Dutt Awards
- Best Feature Film on National Integration for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2002.
- Best Actress Award for Sujata in 1974
- Best Actress Award for Asamaya in 1976.
- Best Actress Award for Bijoyini in 1982.
- Best Actress Award for Indira in 1983.
- Best Director Award for Parama in 1985.
- Best Actress Award for Aparachito in 1970
- Best Actress Award for Sujata in 1975
- Best Director Award for Parama in 1986
- Best Screenplay Award for Parama in 1986
- Best Actress Award for Ekanto Apan in 1988
- Best Supporting Actress Award for Mahaprithibi in 1992
- Best Actress Award for Swet Patharer Thala in 1993
- Best Supporting Actress Award for Unishr April in 1997
- Babulal Chowkhani Memorial Trophy for Original Story-Yugant in 1997
- Best Actress Award for Paramitar Ek Din in 2001
- Babulal Chowkhani Memorial Trophy for Original Story and Screenplay forParamitar Ek Din in 2001
- Most Outstanding Work of the Year for Mr and Mrs Iyer in 2003
- Best Director Award at Indian Film Festival of Melbourne for The Rapist in 2022
- Life Time Achievement Award in 2013
- Indian singer(s): Ustad Amir Khan, Late Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, and Ustad Rashid Khan
- English Singer(s): Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, and Mozart
- Sitarist: Nikhil Bandopadhyay
- Author(s): Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, Roald Dahl, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Novel: The Family Moskat by Isaac Bashevis Singer
- Filmmaker: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
- In an interview, Aparna said that she once read Mahabharata and found Krishna very fascinating.
- The screenplay of Iti Mrinalini was an assignment in the Screenwriting syllabus at the Mumbai-based film school Whistling Woods International.
- In an interview, Aparna once said that since childhood, she likes to read every night before sleeping.
- Out of the 12 films in which Aparna Sen and actor Uttan Kumar appeared together, 10 of them were critically acclaimed and turned out to be box office hits. The 1972 film ‘Memsahib’ is considered one of their best works.
- Aparna was fondly called Coppola by Shashi Kapoor.
- Some media houses claimed that the central government of India would be announcing the release of the postal stamp on Aparna Sen’s name on 25 October 2021. Aparna denied the rumours and said,
I don’t know who has circulated this baseless report. I don’t understand what his/her intention is behind this act. Even I haven’t commented regarding this news. It’s nothing but a false and baseless report.”