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The Guerrilla Fighter: Mrinal Sen and the Legacies of Radical Cinema

Thursday, November 16–Saturday, November 18, 2023

Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts 201 and Cobb Hall 307

On Mrinal Sen’s birth centenary, we celebrate his legacy on radical artistic practice. One of the extraordinary filmmakers of the 1960s and beyond, Sen was an influential figure in the dissemination of ideas and practices of third cinema in India, breaking sharply from the realist art film pioneered by Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak’s melodramas. Over a series of screenings, panels, an exhibition, and a closing roundtable, the conference will feature a range of international scholars, critics, and filmmakers whose conversation will provide new understandings of this renowned figure.

Speakers include Anustup Basu, Moinak Biswas, Supriya Chaudhuri, Manishita Dass, Sanghita Sen, Meheli Sen, Rochona Majumdar, Neepa Majumdar, Parichay Patra, Masha Salazkina, Kunal Sen, and Anjan Dutt.

See full schedule below.


Logan 201

Opening Remarks: Daniel Morgan, University of Chicago and Deborah Nelson, University of Chicago

7:00pm — Film Screening

Bhuvan Shome (1969, 96 mins): Introduced by Rochona Majumdar, University of Chicago



10:00am–2:00pm — Film Screenings

10:00am — Padatik (The Foot Soldier, 1973, 98 mins): Introduced by Sangita Gopal, University of Oregon

2:00pm — Akaler Sandhane (In Search of Famine, 1980, 115 mins): Introduced by Lakshmi Padmanabhan, Northwestern University

5:00–7:00pm — Dinner

7:00pm — Film Screening

Khandhar (Ruins, 1984, 106 mins): Introduced by Tanya Desai



Cobb 310

9:00am–5:30pm — Exhibition

Public exhibition of materials from the Mrinal Sen archives. Curated by Titas De Sarkar with items on loan from the Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections.

Cobb 307

9:00–9:30am — Coffee and tea

9:30–9:45am — Opening Remarks: Daniel Morgan, University of Chicago

9:45–11:30am — Panel 1

Parichay Patra, Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur
“Dangerous Speculations: Mrinal Sen and Marginal Political Cinema in the Global South”

Masha Salazkina, Concordia University
“Mrinal Sen and the Global Festival Circuits, 1970s–1980s”

Rochona Majumdar, University of Chicago
“Out of Context: Cinematic Citation in the Third World”

Moderator: Salomé Skvirsky, University of Chicago

11:30am–1:00pm — Lunch

1:00–2:45pm — Panel 2

Supriya Chaudhuri, Jadavpur University
“Form, structure and agency in Mrinal Sen’s Calcutta 71

Moinak Biswas, Jadavpur University
“From Street to Home: Mrinal Sen and the Passing of the 1970s”

Anustup Basu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
“The Choral Cinema of the City: Mrinal Sen’s Arrested Allegories”

Moderator: Tom Lamarre, University of Chicago

3:15–5:00pm — Panel 3

Meheli Sen, Rutgers University
“Uncanny Encounters: Ruins, Romance, and the Inscrutable Woman in Mrinal Sen’s Khandhar (1983) and Antareen (1993)”

Neepa Majumdar, University of Pittsburgh
“Auditory Provocations: Audio Montage Vehicles in Mrinal Sen’s Films”

Manishita Dass, Royal Holloway, University of London
“Lines of Descent/Dissent: Mrinal Sen and the Afterlives of 1940s Left Radicalism”

Moderator: Ahona Panda, Claremont McKenna College

5:30–7:00pm — Roundtable

Kunal Sen, computer scientist, artist, and author of Bondhu (2023)

Anjan Dutt, renowned actor, director, singer, lyricist, and maker of Chalchitra Ekhon (2023)

Moderator: Rochona Majumdar, University of Chicago

This event is free and open to the public; registration is recommended.

Presented by 3CT, Film Studies Center, University of Chicago Center in New Delhi, Franke Institute for the Humanities, Committee on South Asian Studies, Nicholson Center for British Studies, Department of Cinema and Media Studies, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, National Film Development Corporation of India, National Film Archives of India, and Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections