Monday, April 16, 2012


This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the birth of Indian Renaissance Man Rabindranath Tagore—poet, musician, philosopher, artist, and Nobel Prize-winner for literature.

In honor of this event, lucky Santa Cruzans will get two chances this weekend to meet another Indian cultural treasure, actress, feminist and filmmaker Aparna Sen, live, in person, right here in our town.

Sponsored by the Satyajit Ray Film & Study Center (Ray FASC) at UCSC, Ms. Sen will be in town for two film events Saturday and Sunday, celebrating the cultural legacy of Tagore, as well as her own stellar career in film.

On Saturday, beginning at 5 pm, at the Media Theater, UCSC, Ms. Sen will be on hand for a screening of the comedy-drama Samapti (Conclusion). This  newly restored short film was originally one episode in the 1961 anthology film Teen Kanya (Three Daughters), directed by maestro Satyajit Ray from three Tagore short stories.

In Samapti, a young law student visiting his home village is pressured by his widowed mother to get engaged to a nice, but boring girl in a neighboring village. Instead, he falls for an unconventional local tomboy—who refuses to go along with an arranged marriage unless she has a chance to choose for herself.

Samapti was also the film debut of 16-year-old Aparna Sen in the role of the reckless, yet stout-hearted tomboy who's not afraid to stand up for herself. Ms. Sen will give a talk on the Tagore heritage and answer questions after the screening. Admission is free.

On Sunday at 2 pm, Ms. Sen will be at the Nickelodeon for a screening The Japanese Wife, a feature film she directed in 2010, about an Indian man in a long-distance love affair with his Japanese pen-pal. A Q & A with Ms. Sen will follow the screening.

Actress, scriptwriter, award-winning filmmaker, magazine editor, frequent international film festival jury member, and recipient of both the Padmashree Award from India, and the Satyajit Ray Lifetime Achievement Award, Aparna Sen is a one-woman cinema institution, so mark your calendar now!

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