2017 – Aparna Sen
Aparna Sen is a renowned name in Indian cinema. She has excelled both as an actor in film and theatre and as director. Her first film appearance happened in Satyajit Ray’s Teen Kanya (1961) when she was sixteen. Aparna Sen enacted the nuances of femininity of Bengali middle class under the direction of Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen. 1981 was a decisive year in the Sen’s career when she switched to filmmaking with the film 36 Chowringhee Lane amidst the acting commitments. Being a multifaceted film personality, Sen defied all the conventions and categorizations in filmmaking with her sharp, but the subtle depiction of female protagonists and their life as human entities. Her characters travel and experience the religious intolerance, rigid moral codes, labyrinths of man-woman relationships, choked by the memories, disappear into a futuristic mystery land without a warning, and radiate a characteristic empathy. In terms of directorial style, she is the perfect amalgam of the visual and the verbal. There are dome directors whom one will love for the impeccable incisive dialogues, and some for their stupendous visual imagery but for Aparna Sen, the two are enmeshed to make cinema. Her widely acclaimed works include Parama (1984), Sati(1989), Yugant(1995), Paromitar Ek Din(2000), Mr. and Mrs.Iyer(2002), Iti Mrinalini(2011), Chotushkone(2014) etc. She is the winner of three National Film Awards and nine international film festival awards for direction. She was honoured by the government of India with the fourth highest civilian award Padma shri in 1987.