|Directed by||Aparna Sen|
|Produced by||Shrikant Mohta
|Written by||Story and Screenplay: Aparna Sen
|Starring||Konkona Sen Sharma
|Music by||Debajyoti Mishra|
|Editing by||Rabiranjan Moitra|
|Distributed by||Shree Venkatesh Films|
|Release date(s)||June 2010|
Iti Mrinalini (English: Yours Mrinalini) is a forthcoming Indian drama film, directed by the acclaimed Bengali filmmaker Aparna Sen, written by Sen and debutant film writer Ranjan Ghosh, and produced by Shrikant Mohta and Mahendra Soni of Shree Venkatesh Films Pvt Ltd. The film features Aparna Sen and her daughter Konkona Sen Sharma in the lead role. It also stars Rajat Kapoor, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Koushik Sen, Locket Chatterjee and German actor Suzanne Bernert in supporting roles.
The film examines the randomness of life. Nothing is under our control and at times, we should just let go - just let it be what it will. The film also explores different forms of love - one that happens in early youth, one that's more domestic, one that falls somewhere between friendship and love, and one resulting out of loneliness.
Mrinalini (Aparna Sen), an ageing actress, writes a suicide note. As a performer, the first lesson she had learnt was timing – the perfect moment for making an entrance or an exit on stage. On the stage of life, her entrance had been outside her control; but she wants to choose the moment of her exit at least.
However, before taking the pills that will put her to sleep forever, she decides to destroy all her memorabilia – letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings, knick-knacks pertaining to the past – lest they fall into the hands of the press. She has been a victim of media attention all her life and wishes to be spared that at her death.
As she looks through the old box that contains relics from her past, memories flood the night... Incidents that she had forgotten or had relinquished to the furthest corners of her mind now return to haunt her and, through these memories, an entire life is revealed – a life of loves lost and gained, friendships and betrayals, successes and failures, accidents and awards, agonies and ecstasies.
Mrinalini relives her past, as night gradually turns to dawn. An ajaan starts up somewhere. Slowly early morning light fills the room. The moment has passed and the death she had wished for so intensely no longer seems a priority. Her German Shepherd comes and rubs its head on its mistress’s feet and squeaks to be let out. Mrinalini smiles, tears up the suicide note and takes her dog out for a walk.
A new day starts. A new life awaits her. A new beginning she has chosen.
For the first time, Sen teams up with Shree Venkatesh Films Pvt Ltd, the makers of Chokher Bali and Raincoat. The pre-production of the film started in the 2nd week of April 2009 with ideation. Scripting started by end April. In a major first, Sen gets attached to the curriculum of any film institute. The screenplay of Iti Mrinalini was an assignment in the Screenwriting syllabus at the Mumbai based film school Whistling Woods International. Interestingly this was the first time in Indian Screenwriting that any assigned screenplay of any Indian film institute has actually been filmed.
In her own admission, this is also the first time Aparna Sen collaborates with any film writer. Based on an original story idea given to him by Sen, debutant screenwriter Ranjan Ghosh has written the story and the screenplay of Iti Mrinalini along with his director. He is a Screenwriting ex-student from Whistling Woods International. Incidentally, Ranjan Ghosh becomes Aparna Sen's first and only co-author since she began her directing career with the celebrated 36 Chowringhee Lane in 1981.
The first draft of the screenplay of Iti Mrinalini was ready by end-July. The second and the third drafts were written successively by August and September. Cinematographer Shirsha Roy was supposed to shoot the film initially. However, date hassles kept him away. DOP Somak Mukherjee stepped in his shoes. Location recce was carried out in Calcutta and Konark in the month of August.
Like in her earlier films, Sen went in for a grueling acting workshop for the cast. The Calcutta chapter was for three weeks when daughter Konkona Sen Sharma had flown down from Mumbai to attend the workshop. The Mumbai chapter was for another ten days thereafter with Rajat Kapoor and Priyanshu Chatterjee. The acting workshop was conducted by Sohag Sen.
Extensive and exhaustive pre-production meets were held regularly at Sen's place throughout the months of August and September. The production design of this film has been handled by Sen along with her directorial assistants. Sen entrusted her scriptwriter Ranjan Ghosh - who also doubled up as the Director's Assistant - with the unique task of creating Mrinalini's memory items. The entire memorabilia of the actress were thereby designed and created by Ghosh with some help from the art department. Her long time junior colleague at the Bengali language Women's magazine Sananda (magazine), Sabarni Das, designed the costumes for Sen's film. Deftly handling the demands of costumes for this period film, Das helped in the art direction of the film as well.
Iti Mrinalini is also the first mainstream film directed by Sen, popular songs are used for the first time in any of her films. Music director Debajyoti Mishra has scored for Sen once again.
Eminent Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay is interestingly linked with Iti Mrinalini. One of his cult poems, Smritir Shohor has been turned into a song for the film. Incidentally, this is the first time any of Gangopadhyay's poems have been used as a song for any film.
Iti Mrinalini is also the first film to be shot by Aparna Sen in record time. The film's unit faced an uphill task of completing the shoot covering 38 locations in just 33 days. The shoot covered areas around Calcutta like the Vidyasagar Setu, the Howrah Bridge, Baghbazar Ghat, College Street, Favourite Cabin, Calcutta Greens, Science City, Alipore Zoo, New Market, Priya Cinema, Ganga Kutir, Silver Spring apartment among a host of others.
For the outdoor schedule, the unit went to Konark for a week in the latter half of October.
It was a return to history for the film unit. The sound of “lights, camera, action” returned to Calcutta Movieton studio at Tollygunge’s 28A Chandi Ghosh Road, which reopened after 25 years with Iti Mrinalini. The studio was once owned by yesteryear star Kanan Devi, who sold it to businessman Jagdish Bagri in 1985. “I had no intention to run a studio back then but now Tollywood is big,” said Bagri. Iti Mrinalini producer Shree Venkatesh Films had taken two floors on hire for the film shoot.
The film is currently under post-production. The first two cuts of the film were completed by end November 2009 and by mid December 2009 respectively. While the first cut went up to 140 minutes, the second cut's duration was 135 minutes.
Dubbing was held in Calcutta over two phases. In the first phase, lasting a week, in early December, all major and secondary characters completed their dubbing. The second phase lasted for three days whence Aparna Sen did her portion. The dubbing session to be held in Mumbai begins in the third week of January 2010. Sound design and final mix are planned to be completed in the 'Maximum City' by March. Iti Mrinalini is being dubbed in Hindi as well. It is targeted to release in June 2010.