GUWAHATI, Sept 6 – The Mrinal Kanti Das Foundation and the Guwahati Press Club joined hands to organise a programme titled ‘Remembering Mrinal,’ on the occasion of the tenth death anniversary of Mrinal Kanti Das, the ace cinematographer of Assam, who is so far the only one from Assam, and the first among the two professionals from North East India, to have been conferred with the National Award for Best Cinematography.
A press release stated that in the programme held at the Press Club premises here, Spandan, a documentary scripted and directed by Mrinal, was screened. The film is on the famous Jaipore Rain Forest of Assam.
It may be mentioned here that Mrinal, a 1992-batch graduate in cinematography from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, was also an avid wildlife enthusiast and a passionate mountaineer with experience of scaling several peaks across the central and eastern Himalayas. He was also an ex-forester with the Government of Assam before quitting his job to study at the FTII.
Mrinal was conferred with the National Award for Best Cinematography for his camera works for two Assamese films – Adajya and Raag Birag – directed by filmmakers Santwana Bordoloi and Bidyut Chakravarty respectively.
The screening of Spandan was followed by brief speeches by a select group of Mrinal’s friends, colleagues and acquaintances, in the presence of a mixed gathering of filmmakers, journalists, nature lovers, environmentalists and his family members.
The speakers recalled the talented cinematographer’s contribution to cinema of Assam, and also threw light on the deceased artiste’s passion towards, and deep understanding of the wild, which he held dear to his heart.
Mrinal Kanti’s love for the wild saw him nourish a long dream of making his maiden feature film as a director on the rain forests of Assam. This resulted in his dream venture, Aranyat Baraxun, a screenplay which Mrinal had written by himself with the aim to make a feature film in the early part of this decade. In fact ten per cent of the film was shot by the deceased cinematographer-filmmaker in 35 mm around 2003-2004.
However, fate had other plans. While on a preliminary survey and research work for Aranyat Baraxun, which he scheduled to shoot across several seasons as demanded by his script, Mrinal Kanti met with a fatal road accident on the outskirts of Jorhat on the night of September 3, 2004, and died on the spot.
The vote of thanks was offered by Das’ wife and convenor of the Foundation, R Das. She also mentioned the fact that Mrinal Kanti Das’ script of Aranyat Baraxun has been plagiarised and made into a film by merely changing the story line. She expressed her concern and appeals for moral support from everyone in this regard so that Mrinal Kanti Das is given his due credit and honour.