Before finding his footing in the film industry, Pradeep Sarkar remembers listening to his father ask him if he wanted to paint billboards for a living.
Sarkar, known for directing films like Parineeta, Mardaani and Lafangey Parindey, began his journey as a director with ad-films. Before that, he worked on advertisements as a Creative Director for 17 years and soon became one of the most sought-after names for music videos as well.
For his work in the ad-film industry, he won the prestigious Rapa award and went on to win the Best Director of the Year award at the Abbys.
Sarkar shot the videos for ‘Maaeri’ and ‘Dhoom Pichak Dhoom’ from Euphoria, ‘Ab Ke Saawan’ by Shubha Mudgal, and ‘Piya Basanti’ by Sultan Khan.
He made his feature directorial debut with the Vidya Balan-starrer Parineeta. The film was a massive success and garnered positive responses for its look, its cast, and overall appeal.
Sarkar had an eye for detail and a penchant for art; it’s no surprise that he graduated from the Delhi College of Art in 1979 with a gold medal. This translated to his music videos and his films, imbibing them with an almost unforgettable charm.
At the 51st Filmfare Awards, Parineeta took home awards for Best Female Debut (Balan), Best Choreography, Best Sound Design, and Best Art Direction. The latter went to Pradeep Sarkar, Tanushree Sarkar, and Keshto Mandal. The accolades didn’t end there with the film winning the Best Debut Film of a Director award at the 53rd National Film Awards.
Sarkar then directed Laaga Chunari Mein Daag – Journey Of A Woman, starring Rani Mukerji. The film was Sarkar’s first under the Yash Raj banner. It opened to mixed reviews with a mostly negative reception in India but on the other hand, the New York Times dubbed it a ‘feminist fairy tale’.
His next feature Lafangey Parindey also opened to mixed reviews but his next Mardaani received critical and audience acclaim for authenticity in storytelling.
On Friday (24 March), Hansal Mehta took to Twitter to inform about Sarkar's demise. He was 67.