Iti Mrinalini (Bengali: ইতি মৃণালিনী English: Yours, Mrinalini; English: An Unfinished Letter) is a 2011 Indian drama film directed by Bengali filmmaker Aparna Sen. Sen collaborated with Ranjan Ghosh to write both the story and the screenplay. The film was produced by Shrikant Mohta and Mahendra Soni of Shree Venkatesh Films Pvt Ltd. Some critics consider it to be among her best work, ranking with Mr. and Mrs. Iyer and 36 Chowringhee Lane.
|Directed by||Aparna Sen|
|Written by||Aparna Sen|
|Produced by||Shrikant Mohta|
|Starring||Konkona Sen Sharma|
|Edited by||Rabiranjan Moitra|
|Music by||Debojyoti Mishra|
|Distributed by||Shree Venkatesh Films|
This was the first Bengali film Sen directed after a gap of more than a decade. Her previous film was Paromitar Ek Din, in 2000. Iti Mrinalini is viewed as the director's first mainstream venture. It focuses on the life of an aging Bengali star actress of yesteryear (Mrinalini), who looks back at her life. Aparna Sen plays the current-day Mrinalini while her daughter Konkona Sen Sharma portrays Mrinalini's earlier self. The film also stars Rajat Kapoor, Priyanshu Chatterjee, Kaushik Sen, Locket Chatterjee and German actor Suzanne Bernert in supporting roles. The entire cast, except for Konkona, is new to Aparna Sen films.
This was the first time Sen had collaborated with a scriptwriter, and the first film by Sen to be nationally released in Hindi simultaneously with the Bengali version. It is also the first time Sen and her daughter have played the same character.
The film examines the randomness of life, suggesting that nothing is under our control no matter how hard we try. The film also explores different forms of love: first love, domestic happiness, an emotion that falls somewhere between friendship and love, and love that results from loneliness and seclusion.
Mrinalini, an ageing actress, writes a suicide note. As a performer, the first lesson she learned was timing – the perfect moment for making an entrance or an exit on stage. On the stage of life, her entrance was outside her control, but she plans to choose her exit.
Before taking the sleeping pills she has ready, she decides to destroy her memorabilia – letters, photographs, newspaper cuttings, knick-knacks – in case they fall into the hands of the press. She was a focus of media attention all her life and wishes to be spared this, as much as possible, at her death.
As she looks through the relics from her past, she remembers incidents that she had forgotten or had suppressed. Through these memories, she relives her love life, friendships and betrayals, successes and failures, accidents and awards.
As Mrinalini relives her past, night gradually turns to dawn. An azaan (Islamic call to prayer) starts up in the distance. 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 asks to be let out. Mrinalini tears up the suicide note and takes her dog out for a walk. On the street, she meets morning walkers, joggers, and a group of school children.
A young man runs past her. He seems to be escaping from something. Mrinalini thinks that she recognizes him; he resembles her first boyfriend, from her college days. Maybe he's a thief, or a gangster. Then a gunshot is heard. Everyone on the street is startled. Mrinalini stands still, shocked. The young man who resembled her first love checks himself. He is safe, but Mrinalini has been hit in the back. He runs off as she collapses on the ground.
- Konkona Sen Sharma as the younger Mrinalini Mitra
- Aparna Sen as the older Mrinalini Mitra
- Priyanshu Chatterjee as Imtiaz Chowdhury
- Rajat Kapoor as Siddhartha Sarkar
- Kaushik Sen as Chintan Nair
- Shaheb Bhattacharjee as Abhijeet Mukherjee
- Locket Chatterjee as Maithili Sarkar
- Srijit Mukherji as Ranajoy Mitra
- Suzanne Bernert as Julia Campbell
- Gargi Roychowdhury as Sumitra Debi
- Ananya Chatterjee as Hiya Majumdar
- Dulal Lahiri as Prasad Sen
- Tritee Basu as Toddler Shona
- Rita Koiral as Moti
This is Sen's first collaboration with Shree Venkatesh Films Pvt Ltd, the makers of Chokher Bali and Raincoat. Pre-production started in the second week of April 2009 with ideation. Scripting started by the end of April.
The screenplay of Iti Mrinalini was an assignment in the screenwriting syllabus at the Mumbai-based film school Whistling Woods International. This marked the first time that a screenplay emerging from an Indian film institute had actually been filmed. In a Master Class on Cinema held on Fox History and Entertainment Channel, Sen commented that she had never collaborated with any film writer before the screenplay for Iti Mrinalini. First-time screenwriter Ranjan Ghosh, an alumnus of Whistling Woods International, wrote the story and the screenplay along with Sen, based on an original story idea Sen gave him. Ghosh was Sen's first co-author since she began her prolific directing career with 36 Chowringhee Lane in 1981. The first draft of the screenplay of Iti Mrinalini was ready by the end of July 2009. The second and third drafts were completed by August and September, respectively
Somak Mukherjee acted as cinematographer, in place of Shirsha Roy who was unable to participate due to scheduling problems. Location scouting was carried out in Calcutta and Konark in the month of August.
As she did for her earlier films, Sen arranged a grueling acting workshop for the cast, conducted by Sohag Sen. The Calcutta chapter of the workshop lasted for three weeks, with Konkona Sen Sharma. The Mumbai chapter ran for another ten days, with Rajat Kapoor and Priyanshu Chatterjee.
Extensive pre-production meets were held regularly at Sen's home throughout the months of August and September. Production design of this film was by Sen and her directorial assistants. Scriptwriter Ranjan Ghosh acted as Assistant Director, and took on the task of creating Mrinalini's memorabilia with help from the art department. Sabarni Das, Sen's longtime junior colleague at the Bengali-language women's magazine Sananda, designed the costumes. Das also helped in the art direction.
The production of the film started on 6 October 2009.
One of the cult poems by Bengali writer Sunil Gangopadhyay, Smritir Shohor, was turned into a song for the film. This is the first time a poem by Gangopadhyay's poems has been in a film. Music director Debojyoti Mishra wrote the score.
Iti Mrinalini was shot in 38 locations in just 33 days. The shoot covered areas around Calcutta including the Vidyasagar Setu, the Howrah Bridge, Baghbazar Ghat, College Street, Favourite Cabin, Calcutta Greens, Science City, Alipore Zoo, New Market, Priya Cinema, Ganga Kutir, and a Silver Spring apartment. The outdoor scenes were shot in Konark in a week, in the latter half of October.
The Calcutta Movieton studio at Tollygunge’s 28A Chandi Ghosh Road reopened after 25 years for Iti Mrinalini. The studio was once owned by ex-star Kanan Devi, who sold it to businessman Jagdish Bagri in 1985. Bagri commented "I had no intention to run a studio back then but now Tollywood is big". Producer Shree Venkatesh Films hired two floors for the shoot.
The first two cuts of the film were completed by the end of November 2009 and by mid December 2009 respectively. The final cut, with a duration of 128 minutes, was completed in January 2010.
Dubbing was held in Calcutta in December and in Mumbai from January to March 2010. Sound design and the final mix-down was completed in 'Maximum City' in September.
Iti Mrinalini's domestic premiere was in the 'Indian Frame' section at the 12th MAMI International Film Festival 2010, held in Mumbai on 27 October 2010. Its world premiere was at the Cairo International Film Festival on 30 November 2010. The film opened the River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival on 3 December 2010, which was also its European premiere. It played to sold-out audiences at the Dubai International Film Festival, and was given a standing ovation at the 8th Edition of the Chennai International Film Festival on 23 December 2010.
The prestigious Slamdance Film Festival presented Iti Mrinalini at the 9th Annual Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, on 14 April 2011, the film's USA premiere. It was selected as the Centerpiece Film at the 11th Annual edition of the IAAC's New York Indian Film Festival in May 2011 in Manhattan, and was shown at the Silk Screen Asian American Film Festival in May 2011 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the 14th Shanghai International Film Festival in June 2011.
The film's commercial release in India was on 29 July 2011, followed by a worldwide release on 31 July 2011.
The Hollywood Reporter called Iti Mrinalini "[a]n addicting shot of melodrama" with "anxious beautiful women" and "a sense that society, an entirely alien force outside those nighttime windows, is conspiring to ruin lives and despoil love".
The Telegraph (Calcutta) commented that "[t]he film transcends its regional mould and presents Bengalis as part of a bigger global existence... This is a new-generation film which doesn’t need a hip youngster to make it contemporary".
The Indian Express wrote that "The film ends abruptly on a tragic, pessimistic, almost melodramatic note that is unlike Aparna Sen. Sen's minute eye for detail is scattered through the film, as are myriad characters of different colours who dot her life from her youth in the 1970s to the present time".
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||28 March 2011|
|Label||Shree Venkatesh Films|
|Producer||Shrikant Mohta |
|1.||"Smritir Sahor" (Part 1)||Sunil Gangopadhyay||Srikanto Acharya, Priyam Mukherjee & Sourish Bhattacharya|
|2.||"Ajana Kono Galpo Bole"||Srijit Mukherjee||Shreya Ghoshal|
|3.||"Mone Holo Jeno Antabihin"||Rabindranath Tagore||Sudeshna Chatterjee|
|4.||"Bishe Bishe Nil" (Female)||Srijit Mukherjee||Shreya Ghoshal|
|5.||"Smritir Sahor" (Part 2)||Sunil Gangopadhyay||Aparna Sen, Srikanto Acharya, Priyam Mukherjee & Sourish Bhattacharya|
|6.||"Amar Mukti Aloye Aloye"||Rabindranath Tagore||Sudeshna Chatterjee|
|7.||"Bishe Bishe Nil" ((Male))||Srijit Mukherjee||Bonnie Chakraborty|
|8.||"Amake Tan Mare"|
- "Konkona plays young mom Aparna". Deccan Herald. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
- "Aparna and Konkona in Iti Mrinalini". ScreenIndia.com. Archived from the original on 25 September 2009. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
- "Aparna Sen's best since Mr and Mrs Iyer". India Abroad-Digital. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
- Nag, Kushali (23 September 2009). "Other casts of Iti Mrinalini". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- "Script is King in any film". The Asian Age. Retrieved 12 November 2010.
- "There's no luck without hard work". dnaindia. Retrieved 31 May 2010.
- "Iti Mrinalini". Facebook. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- "Kolkata calling for Konkona". The Times of India. 20 September 2009. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 20 September 2009.
- "Aparna stars in Aparna film". The Telegraph. Calcutta, India. 12 November 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- "Iti Mrinalini movie review Aparna Sen's whirlwind memory trip". Passion For Cinema. Retrieved 1 December 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "Iti Mrinalini movie review Aparna Sen's mainstream outing". Wordpress. Retrieved 12 December 2010.[permanent dead link]
- "Srijit Mukherji's new heights". The Times of India. 1 October 2010. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
- "Aparna Sen's film Iti Mrinalini to flag off Florence Festival". Calcutta Tube. Archived from the original on 29 January 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "Iti Mrinalini housefull at Dubai film fest". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 18 December 2010. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
- "iti… a cinematic experience". Wordpress.com. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
- Ramnarayan, Gowri (13 December 2010). "The World comes to Chennai". The Hindu. Chennai, India. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- "What to Watch #8: An Unfinished Letter (ITI MRINALINI) presented by Slamdance". indianfilmfestival.org. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
- "NYIFF announces Opening, Closing, and Centerpiece films". businessofcinema.com. Retrieved 20 March 2011.
- "Festival Guide 2011". silkscreenfestival.org. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 20 May 2011.
- "An Unfinished Letter". siff.com. Archived from the original on 1 October 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- Honeycutt, Kirk (18 April 2011). "An Unfinished Letter (Iti Mrinalini): Movie Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2 May 2017. Retrieved 10 June 2011.
- Bhaumik, Mainak (8 January 2011). "Of memories & men". Telegraph India. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
- Chatterji, Shoma A. (12 August 2011). "Iti Mrinalini - Indian Express". Indian Express. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
- Bhushan, Nyay (9 May 2011). "Spring in the Colony' Wins Best Feature as New York Indian Film Festival Closes'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 9 May 2011.