Aparna Sen recalls stint on Busan jury as ‘The Rapist’ wins fest’s top award

Celebrating her film, ‘The Rapist’, getting the prestigious Kim Jiseok Award at ‘A Window on Asian Cinema’ section in the 26th Busan International Film Festival in South Korea, veteran filmmaker and actress Aparna Sen said the honour meant a lot to her because she had served on the festival’s jury and got to know the man after whom it is named.

A searing social drama starring her daughter and acclaimed actress, Konkona Sen Sharma, Variety.com says the narrative centres around a middle-class academic who wants her rapist, to whom she has fallen pregnant, and who has been sentenced to death, to tell her why he committed such a crime.

Reacting to her win, Sen said: “This award has a special significance for me because I was in Busan as a jury member many years ago and I had the honour of meeting Mr Kim in person. I was aware of Mr Kim’s tireless, lifelong effort to promote Asian cinema throughout the worId.”

The film, the maiden feature-length production of Sameer Nair’s Applause Entertainment, also stars Arjun Rampal and Tanmay Dhanania in the lead roles. It is the second time that Sen, a Padma Shri and founder-editor of the Bengali women’s magazine ‘Sananda’, and her daughter Konkona have worked together in a film after the critically acclaimed ‘Mr and Mrs Iyer’.

Introduced into cinema by Satyajit Ray in the maestro’s film, ‘Samapti’, Sen launched her career as a director in 1981 with the English film, ’36 Chowringhee Lane’, with Jennifer Kendal and Dhritiman Chatterjee in the lead roles. It won the Golden Eagle at the Manila International Film Festival and Golden Lotus for Best Direction at the National Film Awards. Her other films as director include ‘Sati’, ‘Paroma’, ‘Picnic’, ‘Yugant’, ‘Paromitaar Ek Din’, ‘The Japanese Wife’ and ‘Ghawre Bairey Aaj’.

‘The Rapist’ shared the award with Filipino filmmaker Brilliante Mendoza’s boxing drama ‘Gensan Punch’. Other winners in the ‘New Currents’ section were the Chinese film ‘Farewell, My Home Town’ (director Wang Er Zhuo) and the South Korean feature ‘The Apartment With Two Women’ (director Kim Se-in).