Rituparno Ghosh—an exceptional figure in the history of Indian and international cinema
‘If my films help the Bengali film industry in any way, I’ll be extremely happy. I’m extremely flattered that I’m being compared with Satyajit Ray. But I feel I’m majorly overrated. I came into Bengali cinema at a time when intelligent urban films were going out of fashion. That’s why I found a place quickly.’
May 30 is the seventh death anniversary of film director, actor, writer and lyricist Rituparno Ghosh. He quietly passed away on this day in 2013. He is credited for pushing the envelope in various directions. His best women-centric films breaks the continuity with the existing tradition of women characters in Bengali cinema. He will always be remembered as an exceptional figure in the history of Indian cinema. His films never lost its foothold from Bengali middle-class imagination. He brought back the cinematic narrative of Bengal from the more popular to the serious and thought-provoking.
Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish (2012)
Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish (2012) is one of the finest films of Rituparno Ghosh. It is one of his seminal works. The film, which was written and directed by him, premiered on May 25, 2012 at the New York Indian Film Festival. Chitrangada is based on the story of Chitrāngadā from the Mahābhārata. The film tells the story of a choreographer who struggles with his gender identity.
Rudra Chatterjee (Rituparno Ghosh) has spent his life breaking shackles of society and by going against social convention. A young Rudra defies his father’s wishes and pursues his own career and interest. He became a choreographer instead of an engineer. During the preparation of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s Chitrangada, he meets Partho (Jisshu Sengupta). Partho is a drug-addict percussionist who is introduced to the team by the main dancer Kasturi (Raima Sen).
There, Rudra develops a chemistry with Partho and they end up being in a passionate love affair. They even think of adopting a child. But here lies the problem: same-sex couples are not permitted to adopt a child or children. A lovelorn Rudra, instead of dropping the idea of adopting a child, takes a decision to undergo a gender change treatment.
He, in fact, wants to embrace womanhood for which he has been longing for. Will the surgery be successful? Will he get his dreams, wishes and aspirations fulfilled? This forms the crux of the story. The message is clear: ‘Be What You Wish To Be’.
In addition to it, one can see the day-to-day life of a transgender choreographer, his relation with his parents and how society treats him. The powerful content, superb acting abilities and superlative direction skills set the movie apart. Rituparno Ghosh’s first class coupled with some stunning performances by other actors make the movie a must-watch.
Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish: Cast List
Rituparno Ghosh as Rudra “Khokon” Chatterjee, Jisshu Sengupta as Partho, the percussionist, Anjan Dutt as Subho, Anashua Majumdar as Rudra’s mother, Deepankar De as Rudra’s father, Raima Sen as Kasturi, Kaushik Banerjee as Manish and Sanjoy Nag (cameo) as Rahul (Rudra’s ex-boyfriend).
Made in black-and-white, Dosar won hearts and awards, Prosenjit Chatterjee and Konkona Sen Sharma delivered one of their most memorable performances. Prosenjit’s acting coupled with Rituparno’s direction skills make Dosar a must-watch film. The film won the National Film Award – Special Jury Award/Special Mention (Feature Film) for the lead role portrayal by Prosenjit. Konkona Sen Sharma also who the Best Actress Award at the New York Film Festival in 2007.
In fact, the film was premiered in the 60th 2007 Cannes Film Festival in the Les Cinema Du Monde section. Filmmakers like Rituparno Ghosh had gone, never to return. His way of making films and directing his actors were unique and marked the stamp of excellence and superiority. Kaushik (Prosenjit) is shattered when his mistress, Mita, loses her life in an accident. He now has to struggle to win back his wife’s (Konkona) trust as he tries to improve their relationship. What Kaberi will do now?
Dosar: Cast List
Prosenjit Chatterjee as Kaushik Chatterjee, Konkona Sen Sharma as Kaberi Chatterjee, Chandrayee Ghosh as Mita Ray, Shankar Chakraborty as Mita Ray’s husband, Pallavi Chatterjee as Brinda, Parambrata Chatterjee as Bobby, Saswata Chatterjee as Kaushik’s younger brother and Tota Roy Chowdhury as Kaushik’s colleague.
Shubho Mahurat (2003)
Shubho Mahurat is a Rituparno Ghosh special film. Only he could pull off such a stunning film in the whodunit genre. Rakhee as Rangapishi was flawless, and Rituparno’s direction skills and abilities make this film very special. A superlative adaptation of Agatha Christie’s novel The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side. It won two National Awards, one for Best Supporting Actress for Raakhee and the other for Best Feature Film in Bengali.
Shubho Mahurat: Cast List
Sharmila Tagore as Padmini Chowdhury, Raakhee as Ranga Pishima, Nandita Das as Mallika Sen, Tota Roy Chowdhury as Arindam, Sumanta Mukherjee as Sambit Roy, Kalyani Mandal as Kakoli, Rajesh Sharma as Sumit, Aparajita Adhya as Pramila, Moumita Gupta, Anindya Chatterjee as Shubhankar, Abhijit Guha (director) (special appearance), Goutam Ghose (special appearance), Soumitra Chattopadhyay (special appearance), Subhendu Chattopadhyay (special appearance) and Madhabi Mukherjee (special appearance).
Rituparno Ghosh (31 August 1963—30 May 2013) came into Bengali cinema at a time when it was at a low ebb. Often and rightly compared with the genius Satyajit Ray, Rituparno Ghosh took Bengali cinema to the world stage. He was a film director, actor, writer and lyricist of international repute. He gave Indian cinema some of the finest films the world has ever seen. Whom Gods love, die young. Rituparno was just 49 when he bade farewell to the world. He passed away on May 30, 2013. But he went on to make some of the best films the world has ever seen. Each film was better than the other. He started his career as a creative artist at an advertising agency after earning a degree in Economics and shot into limelight with his second feature film Unishe April (1994) starring Aparna Sen, Debashree Roy, Prosenjit Chatterjee and Deepankar De. His genius can be gauged from the fact that Unishe April won two National Film Awards including Best Feature Film. In a word, he took contemporary Bengali cinema to newer, greater and nobler heights. Almost single-handedly, he took cinema world by storm. Rituparno Ghosh was immensely impressed and influenced by the works of two colossus figures, Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and master filmmaker Satyajit Ray. He made a film titled Jeebon Smriti based on the life of the revered bard. There are innumerable references to Tagore’s work in his films. He was a gifted director, a master story-teller, a maverick and a genius who in his career spanning almost two decades, won 12 National and many international awards. Taak Jhaank, his unreleased Bengali film, was honoured and also released at the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival.
(This article has been written by our guest contributor Mr. Shanku Sharma)