Remembering Mrinal
Posted on September 21st, 2014

By NJ Thakuria

Guwahati: It was a memorial meeting with  intense emotion about an extremely talented cinematographer, who died young after facing an accident a decade back. Mrinal Kanti Das, who continues to be the first of many achievers from northeast India including the national award for best cinematography, met with the fatal road accident in Jorhat on the night of September 3, 2004 and died on the spot.

Organized by Mrinal Kanti Das Foundation and Guwahati Press Club on September 6, the meeting titled ‘Remembering Mrinal’ was attended by distinguished personalities from the Assamese film world, media, non-government conservation associations and civil society groups. All the speakers unanimously described Mrinal as an ace cinematographer, a nature lover and an honest individual.

A passionate mountaineer, Mrinal  left the job of a forest officer under Assam government and headed for Film and Television Institute of India, Pune (FTII) to study Cinematography and completed his curse from the acclaimed institution in 1992.

He was conferred with the national award for cinematography (1997) for his camera works in two Assamese movies namely  Adajya (directed by Santwana Bordoloi) and Raag Birag (directed by Bidyut Chakravarty).

Mrinal got the fame for his creative cinematography also in Mimangsa (directed by Sanjib Hazarika), Boibhav (directed by Manju Barua), Hothat Bristi (directed by Basu Chatterjee) etc.

Spandan, a documentary on the Jaipore Rain Forest in eastern Assam, which was scripted, cinematographed and directed by Mrinal was also screened in function. In fact, the avid wildlife enthusiast cherished the dream of making a feature film on the rain forests of Assam. He also prepared the screenplay for his dream project titled Aranyat Barasun (rain in the forest) and completed one tenth of the shooting in 35 mm camera during 2003-2004.

The memorial meeting was concluded with offering of vote of thanks by Rubee Barua Das, wife of the deceased cinematographer turned filmmaker and convener of Mrinal Kanti Das Foundation. Their only daughter Pokhi read out a statement from a FTII friend on  Mrinal, whom he described as a man of abundant talents and commitment to the medium he used to study and explore.

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