Film Historian Vijaya Mulay Passes Away At The Age of 98

Vaishnavi Gavankar |May 20, 2019

Filmmaker Vijaya had close relationships with Satyajit Ray, Louis Malle, and Mrinal Sen. She is the mother of the national award-winning actress Suhasini Mulay.

Veteran filmmaker, director, and writer of Indian cinema Vijaya Mulay passed away on Sunday. She is best known for her animated film Ek Anek Aur Ekta which used to telecast on the Doordarshan television. The educational movie Ek Anek Aur Ekta won the national award for a Best Educational film.

Vijaya Mulay
Veteran Filmmaker Vijaya Mulay

Vijaya was born on May 16, 1921. She was founded to Delhi film society and later became a joint secretary of Federation of the film society. She is the mother award-winning national actor Suhasini Mulay.

Suhasini said in an interview, “It was just about old age. She was 98. She had no illnesses of an aging person. Her blood pressure was fine. Her heartbeat was fine. She didn’t have diabetes or anything like that. But as she grew older, she became weaker and was eating less. She called me on the morning of May 10 and told me that she was not feeling well at all. We took her to Escorts hospital, where she was admitted for four days. She had made it very clear that she did not want anything invasive done to her. She said that she lived a full and happy life and did not want to be kept alive by a ventilator or anything. Then we brought her home on May 14, and she was with us till May 19. At 4.45 pm, she passed away. She was not in pain, and it was an easy passage. The last rites will take place at 10 am today at Lodhi Road, New Delhi.”

Suhasini Mulay With Her Mother Vijaya Mulay And Hu
Vijaya Mulay with her daughter Suhasini Mulay.

Vijaya Mulay is renowned in the film fraternity. Her close friendships with Satyajit Ray, Louis Malle, Mrinal Sen, and other film personalities have influenced by her work. Her work in the Indian film making shaped an Indian personality. She is a well-known personality in the film direction and writing.

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In 1946 she won a state scholarship to study in the University of Leeds in the UK for her master's degree in education. From an interview with Vijaya Mulay on her days in the UK, she said, "I had gone to Britain, with an anti-colonial distaste for the British people and with the sole purpose of studying for my degree. I was on my guard, ready to take offense at the slightest insult or remark derogatory to me or to India, whether imagined or real. But I soon found out that the ordinary English people were hardly like the 'Burra Sahibs' that one saw back home".

On post-war cinema in the United Kingdom, she said,” The worker's unity theater played to full houses. Films from the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe ran often. I saw film classics, experimental films, and socialist cinema. I also gained a better perspective and understanding of cinematic art by joining the university film society. Film viewing, once a casual pastime, became my serious passion”.

Vijaya Mulay with the former prime minister of India Indira Gandhi.

Both Satyajit Ray and Louis Malle helped Vijaya in the film making for her first film The Tidal Bore (about the 15 feet tidal coming from Bengal bay like a wall of water on the Hooghly River). Malle sent negative stock from France, and Satyajit Ray voiced the commentary. Government of India selected The Tidal Bore film as the official entry to the Mannheim Film Festival. Later film federation of India screened the movie in theatres across the country.

Vijaya Mulay receiving an award

The filmmaker and director also received "V. Shantaram award" for lifetime achievement for the documentaries in the Mumbai international film festival in 2002. She received the "Vikram Sarabhai lifetime achievement award" for educational communication. Various films of her national awards in the international film festival in Delhi, New York, etc. She has made a huge impact on the educational technology sector. She developed multimedia and digital package through the television experiment. More than forty-eight thousand primary school teachers trained with this educational technology.


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