Sinha should have got Dada Saheb Phalke long ago, says film industry

Kolkata, July 22 (IANS) Eminent director Tapan Sinha, who has been selected for the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for the year 2006 for his outstanding contribution to Indian cinema, should have got the honour years ago, says the film fraternity here.

Sinha made films like "Kabuliwalaah" (1956), based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore, that bagged the music award at the Berlin Film Festival and "Ek Doctor Ki Maut" (1991) that fetched him the national award for best director.

His colleagues and friends rue the fact that 84-year-old Sinha's health is so bad that he can't enjoy this honour.

"I am surprised that it took the government so long to confer the Dada Saheb Phalke Award to Sinha. However, it's better late than never," veteran filmmaker Mrinal Sen told IANS Tuesday here.

Actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Ruma Guhathakurata - who acted in many of Sinha's films -echoed Sen.

"What is the use of giving him the award now when he is bedridden and can hardly talk. I am sure this award no longer matters to him," said Chatterjee.

Ruma Guhathakurata added: "Sinha would have been able to relish the award if he had received it when he was active. Now his health condition is such that he can hardly speak four words. I doubt how much this award will delight and influence him at this point."

Unlike others, theatre and film actor Manoj Mitra, who not only acted in Sinha's filmS "Bancharamer Bagan" and "Baidurya Rahasya" but also wrote a book on him titled "Bancharam: Theatre-e Cinema-y", was excited about him getting the award.

Mitra said: "As an ardent admirer of Sinha I am very happy for him. He has mentored a lot of actors. He possesses the unique quality of making even a rank amateur act like a true professional. Besides being a great filmmaker, he had a great sense of acting. He used enact the scenes himself explaining minutest detail before a shoot. Working with him was a great experience."

The award carries a cash price of Rs.1 million, a Swarna Kamal citation and a shawl.

Sinha also has made acclaimed films like "Mrigaya", "Safed Hati" and "Adalat O Ekti Meye", has bagged 19 National Awards besides winning laurels in international film festivals like Berlin, Venice, London, Moscow, San Francisco and Locarno.

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