Mukul Sharma, polymath, writer, and father of director-actor Konkona Sensharma passed away in Delhi late on Thursday night. He was 69 years old.
A popular science fiction writer, Sharma worked as editor for the prominent science magazine, Science Today. He was also a well-known columnist for The Illustrated Weekly, writing the column, Mindsport. When The Illustrated Weekly shut down, Sharma continued to write the popular column in The Sunday Times, owing to its cult following.
His interest in the arts led him to perform in the lead role in his former wife Aparna Sen’s directorial debut, Paroma (1984). While his ex-wife and later daughter, Konkona Sensharma crafted their niche in cinema, Sharma remained a distant participant. His stories remained popular with director Vishal Bhardwaj buying three short stories from him for cinematic use. One of them was adapted by Bhardwaj for the film, Ek Thi Daayan (2013), which also featured Konkona.
Konkona made her directorial debut with her father’s story, A Death In the Gunj.
Speaking with Cinestaan.com in 2016, Konkona spoke of the experience saying, “I first heard the story from him, from his mouth, when I was [a child]. He used to tell it to me, amongst other stories. Both my parents are great storytellers, very charismatic. You can ask them to recount anecdotes and stories of their time or whatever. It really fascinated me for the longest time and much later, I was kind of thinking of developing it more. I was staying with him at that time because my house in Bombay was being renovated, so we used to discuss that a lot. And he helped me with a lot of how that screenplay developed, especially in the early days. Eventually, down the line, it’s funny because my dad or my sister would be like, because they’d read the script or hear from me and say, ‘But this was like this. This was that person’ and I’d be like, ‘Now it’s different, now it’s this’. This is the movie.”
Sharma is survived by his wife, Binita, and daughters Kamalini and Konkona.