Sudipto Sen is an Indian writer-director, who came into the limelight after the release of the teaser of his controversial Hindi film The Kerala Story in November 2022, which was based on the illegal religious conversion of thousands of girls from Kerala to Islam for recruitment to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Sudipto Sen was born on 16 January in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, India. His zodiac sign is Capricorn. Sudipto attended Jalpaiguri Zilla School in West Bengal (from 4th to 7th standard) and BT Road Government School, in Kolkata. He pursued his graduation in physics and master’s in applied psychology at the University of Calcutta.
Height (approx.): 5′ 4″
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Eye Colour: Black
Sudipto Sen belongs to a Bengali family.
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information available about Sudipto’s parents
Wife & Children
There is not much information about Sudipto’s marital status.
In 1997, Sudipto made his directorial debut with the documentary film The Other Wealth. In 1998, he directed the documentary film Land Within Ripples. From 1998-2002, Sudipto worked as an empanelled producer for the World Bank. In 2006, he directed his first English feature film The Last Monk.
In the same year, Sudipto was nominated for Best Direction for the film The Last Monk at the Singapore International Film Festival. In 2007, he directed a Hindi/French bi-lingual film Akhnoor. In 2008, he made his Malayalam directorial debut with the feature film Anthiponnovettam. Later, he directed a few films like Lucknow Times (2015), Aasma (2018), Guru Ji: Ahead of Time (2018), Gurujana (2022), and The Kerala Story (2023).
Physically assaulted for screening his film “In The Name of Love — Melancholy of God’s Own Country” at JNU
On 28 April 2018, the screening of Sudipto’s film In The Name of Love — Melancholy of God’s Own Country was organised by the Global Indian Foundation and the Vivekanand Vichar Manch at the Sabarmati Dhaba, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. As soon as the screening started, members of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) and the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment disrupted the film’s screening alleging that it was based on the concept of love jihad (illegal religious conversion of women to Islam) in Kerala, which might promote hate among different religious groups. The protestors opposed the film, injured several students, manhandled several female students, and even ran over a security guard. Sudipto claimed that the protestors tried to smash his laptop and the hard disk, and he was slapped, pushed, and physically assaulted during the riot. In an interview, Sudipto expressed his resentment over the violent treatment he received from the students of JNU and said,
The film is not anti-Muslim or anti-community for that matter. It is basically about the pattern we identified in Kerala, the bigger ISIS plan to convert Kerala into an Islamic state which was predicted by V.S.Achutanandan. The kind of intolerance they have shown, the kind of abuses they have shown, the kind of attitude they have shown against an artwork. What I did is my art, if you are choking the truth, if you are stopping art being displayed, then it is basically an anti-democratic situation prevailing in JNU. We are not illogical, we didn’t use a single emotional word. Every word in the film is backed by a supporting document. We have the documents, infuriating documents we have. So we have just spoken about the documents we have collected. It is so so scary.”
Complaint registered for defaming the state through the film “The Kerala Story”
In November 2022, the teaser of the film The Kerala Story was dropped by Sudipto. The teaser claimed that there were around 32,000 girls, who were converted to Islam, taken to Islamic State-held areas in Syria and Afghanistan and were eventually forced to join the terrorist group “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS). As soon as the trailer was released, it garnered severe criticism on the internet for allegedly portraying the state as “a hub of Islamic terrorism.” A Tamil Nadu-based journalist, BR Arvindakshan, filed a complaint seeking a ban on the film unless the director substantiates the facts presented in the film. He alleged that the film was intended to destroy the state’s peace, unity, and integrity, which might lead to communal differences. A case was registered under sections 153 A &B (promoting disharmony and enmity between different groups based on the ground of faith) and other sections of the Indian penal code. Arvindakshan, in his complaint, wrote,
It is a very bad thing to try and make the state of Kerala look like a state that supports terrorism through the film. This is not only against the unity and sovereignty of India, but also a disgrace to the country’s intelligence agencies, observing that the film aims to show Kerala in a bad light. The teaser mentions that 32,000 women have been forcibly converted and joined ISIS. If that is the case, it means that nine women from Kerala have been converted and have joined ISIS every day in the past 10 years. That means 3,000 women have joined ISIS every year. This does not seem acceptable unless the information can be verified.”
While addressing the reporters, Sudipto, in his justification said,
I said 32,000 girls went missing. If you go to northern Kerala, to areas like Kasargod or Mallapuram, you will find locals claiming the numbers to be as high as 50,000. Why and how it happened, that’s what the film is about. I can’t reveal the whole story of the film just yet. I have also personally talked to the NIA. Give me some time I will give you all answers.”
- 1997: Won Global 500 Role of Honor Award for the documentary The Other Wealth at the Geneva Human Right Film Festival, Switzerland
- 2006: Best Cinematography for the English feature film The Last Monk at the Cine International Film Festival
- 2007: Best Film Award for the short feature film Akhnoor at the Golden Gate Film Festival, USA
- 2007: Integrated Realization Award for the short feature film Akhnoor at the Belgium International Film Festival
- 2007: Best Director for the short feature film Akhnoor at the San Francisco International Film Festival, USA
- 2018: Best Film Award for the documentary film In the Name of Love! at the London Independent Film Awards
- 2020: National Film Award for the documentary film Guru Ji – Ahead of Time in the category of Best Music Direction (Non-feature film)
- Sudipto follows a non-vegetarian diet.
Sudipto Sen’s Instagram post showcasing his eating habits
- In 2006, Sudipto’s English feature film ‘The Last Monk’ premiered at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival and Rotterdam Film Festival.
- Sudipto Sen was the sole Indian to be selected as one of the jury members at the 53rd edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in November 2022.
- On 28 November 2022, during the closing ceremony of the 53rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa, Nadav Lapid, as the Chief Juror at the IFFI, issued a statement in which he criticised the Bollywood film The Kashmir Files and called it as “disturbing and vulgar.” In an interview, when asked about Sudipto’s opinion on Nadav’s comment, he addressed it as “unethical” and said,
As a practice, etiquette and ethic, the jury board is supposed to talk about films that are awarded. We don’t talk about films that are not awarded. The jury board has nothing to do with someone bringing out a rejected film for discussion in a public forum. If one of us randomly goes to talk about a film which wasn’t even awarded at some platform, I would find it unethical. That single incident at the closing ceremony ruined the entire mood of the festival.”
Sudipto directed the award-winning commercial for Shell oil company in which Pakistani vocalist and musician Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan lent his voice.
- Sudipto is often spotted consuming alcohol with friends at events and parties.
Sudipto Sen’s Instagram post, where he is seen consuming beer
- Sudipto’s hobbies include cooking and travelling.
- Sudipto worked as the Education Council Member at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) – School of Arts & Aesthetics in New Delhi.
- Sudipto’s film, Gurujana, was selected for the Indian Panorama section of the 53rd International Film Festival of India in 2022.