Rituparno Ghosh - A Visionary and A Legend

When we talk about Indian parallel films and its directors, we come across the names of maestros Rituparno Ghosh, Satyajit Ray, Ritwick Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, and many more. They have all put Indian films on the international stage and are regarded as one of the best directors India has ever produced. 


Among them, Rituparno Ghosh was the most gifted filmmaker. He was a visionary and most of his films were ahead of the time and dealt with complex issues. For him, the screen was the canvas where and each time he painted magic.

Rituparno Ghosh graduated from Jadavpur University, Kolkata with a degree in Economics and worked in an advertising agency as a creative artist. He was heavily influenced by the films and works of Satyajit Ray. Satyajit Ray's films convinced Rituparno Ghosh that his real passion lies in filmmaking.

Every character of his films was subtle and sensitive. The themes of his films were very uncommon and dealt with human relationships and emotions intricately. He never shied away from showing oppression, rape, sexual desire, gender fluidity, and homosexual characters.

He rose to fame with his debut film "Heerer Angti" (The Diamond Ring) in 1992. His second feature film "Unishe April" released in 1994 bought him recognition and earned him his first National Award. 

Unishe April dealt with the strained relationship between an award-winning dancer mother and her daughter portrayed by Aparna Sen and Debashree Roy respectively.

In 1997, he made Dahan which also won him 3 National Awards. It was based on the true incident and showed feminism in a different light and the callous and insensitive attitude of families towards the victim, who has been molested.

"Bariwali" released in the year 2000, it showcased the desires of a lonely widowed lady, when she rents out her big mansion for the shooting of a film. Every film directed by Rituparno Ghosh through his films portrayed middle-class families and their desires and the loneliness.

He directed "Dosar" in 2006 which was entirely in black and white and it explored the strained relationship of a couple where the wife knows that his husband is having an illicit affair and still she nurses him after he gets injured in an accident.

Rituparno Ghosh was also influenced by Rabindranath Tagore and he directed "Chokher Bali" in 2003 based on Tagore's novel. The film weaves around the two female characters, Binodini and Asha. The film questions unjust societal norms, taboos, and customs that a widow has to face every day.

In 2012, he directed Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish, the film tells the story of Rudra who struggles with his gender identity. Ghosh himself played the role of Rudra in it. Rudra goes for a gender change operation as he wants to embrace womanhood. 

This film acts as a mirror to showcase the life of a transgender, their daily struggles, their relation with parents, and how society perceives them.

New Wave

Rituparno Ghosh directed many more films that were both commercially and critically successful. Rituparno Ghosh referred his films as womanist and not feminist. Every woman character in his film questioned the patriarchal system.

His films were successful in bringing a New Wave in the Bengali film industry. Even after his passing away, the themes of his films are still relevant to the current times. He never shied away from showing the reality of the society or the hypocrisy or double standard of society.

He passed away too soon at the age of 49, but he gave us millions of memories to cherish upon and celebrate his art.

Written by - Srijita Roy

Edited by - Rudransh Khurana

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