But once upon a time in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Sen was the heartthrob of Bengal. Daughter of the legendary movie star, Suchitra Sen (who died recently), Moon Moon was expected to be as brilliant as her mother. In fact, the press used to call Moon Moon Suchitra Sen II.
Sadly, she could never become Suchitra Sen II – an honour that now seems to knocking on the door of Moon Moon’s daughter, Raima (who is exceptionally good). Although, Moon Moon acted in many Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam films, she was hardly considered an artist of any great calibre. Glamorous and sexy? Yes, of course.
In the meantime, accolade appears to be coming her way. Not via the silver screen, but on the hard platforms of politics and through the dusty roads of rural Bengal. Sen is campaigning with rare dedication for Didi (as Mamata Banerjee, leader of Trinamool and Chief Minister of West Bengal is fondly and reverentially addressed) .
Married into the royal family of Tripura (in north-eastern India), and highly literate with a degree from Oxford (also learnt painting from the master, Jamini Roy), Sen might not have achieved stardom (or genius) during her grease-paint days. But today, she seems to inching towards it.
An article in Firstpost, indicates this all too clearly. “One of the great electoral crises in West Bengal has been resolved. A house has been found in Bankura for Trinamool star candidate Moon Moon Sen. It has everything a star might need or at least make do with at a pinch – a 60-year-old bungalow with old world charm. Two air conditioners have been installed in the two bedrooms. A power load extension has been done….”.
Yet, this house pales in comparison to Sen’s plush flat in Kolkata. I remember it even today after all these years. It was fascinatingly done up with the choicest of artifacts collected from the four corners of the earth. Moon Moon’s husband, Hubby, as he is fondly called, also had a great passion for such rare stuff.
Back to Bankura. And what is a house without food. The Bankura Trinamool guys have been hunting high and low for a good chef. Yes, he must be an expert in Indian and Chinese cuisine. There is no word yet whether they have found a cook for Sen. But she was crazy about Chinese food – as many Bengalis are. For, after all the Chinese had a huge presence in the Calcutta of pre-1962, the year China attacked India.
Now, are the likes of Moon Moon so pampered that they send the wrong signals. No, she says. “I am not from Alaska”, she quips to the media.