Naseeruddin Shah breaks silence over Mrinal Sen

Mumbai: It is well-known fact of arthouse folklore that the temperamental Naseeruddin Shah had a very stormy time with the great Mrinal Sen when they shot “Genesis” in 1986.

“They were constantly at loggerheads about the treatment of the theme. While Shabana Azmi, Om Puri and M.K. Raina went along with Mrinalda’s vision, no matter how utopian, Naseer questioned and confronted Mrinalda constantly during shooting. They had heated arguments, while Shabana and Om watched mutely. By the end of the shooting, matters had come to a boil. And they had parted acrimoniously,” says a source from the Genesis team.

To his credit, Naseer doesn’t deny the differences with Mrinalda.

In a short and heartfelt message sent to me via a text message, Naseer said: “He (Mrinal Sen) was one of very few filmmaker’s who refused to compromise till the end. It was my privilege to work with him – once very happily (in “Khandhar”) and once not so happily (in Genesis)! I’m grieved to learn of his passing away but was even sadder at his state of health in the last few years. He’s probably better off behind the big camera in the sky.”

Another actor Victor Bannerjee also had a far-from-happy experience while shooting with Mrinalda for “Mahaprithibi” in 1991.

All Victor will says now is: “In Mrinalda, we’ve lost a forthright filmmaker and a good human being. One reserves the compliment for a handful of people whom we encounter in life’s journey through a maze of hypocrisy and deceit that shatters our dreams and discolours our rainbows.”

(Subhash K Jha can be contacted at