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India's oldest cinematographer Ramananda Sengupta dies at 101

Sengupta has worked with legends like French film maker Jean Renoir, Ritwick Ghatak and Mrinal Sen.

Photo: Twitter/Shivendra Dungarpur


Photo: Twitter/Shivendra Dungarpur

Country's oldest cinematographer Ramanda Sengupta, who worked with legends like Jean Renoir, Ritwick Ghatak and Mrinal Sen, died in Kolkata on Wednesday, 24 August, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said in a statement.

Sengupta,101, is survived by a son.

Born on May 8, 1916 in Dhaka, Sengupta studied in Santiniketan in his formative years and got his first break in 1938 when he joined Film Corporation of India in Kolkata (then Calcutta) as an assistant cameraman.

His first film as a full-time cinematographer was in Purbarag directed by Ardhendu Mukherjee in 1947.

Two years later, French director Jean Renoir came to Kolkata to shoot The River (Le Fleuve, released in 1951), and Sengupta joined him initially as a clapper boy, but ended up as the operating cameraman while the auteur's nephew Claude Renoir was director of photography.

He worked with Ritwik Ghatak on his debut film Nagarik, that was completed in 1952, but released a quarter century later in 1977, after the film maker's death.

In 1955, when Mrinal Sen made his debut film Raat Bhore, he chose Sengupta as his cinematographer.

Sengupta worked behind the camera in over 70 films, including landmark ones like Shilpi (1956), Nishithe (1963), Bindur Chhele (1973), Personal Assistant (1959), Headmaster (1959) and Teen Bhubaner Pare (1969).

Sengupta was also a founding member of the Technicians' Studio in South Kolkata's Tollygunge.

Condoling Sengupta's demise, the chief minister said his death has caused an irrepairable loss to the world of films.

"I pray that his soul rest in peace. I extend my sympathies to his bereaved family," said Banerjee.