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আমার চোখে ঋতুপর্ণ ঘোষ - Nanda Banerjee

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Rituparno Ghosh is no more! It's a great loss to the film industry.

When I think of 'direction', the name which instantly comes to my mind is of Rituparno Ghosh after Satyajit Roy. In the post-Satyajit Ray generation, he started a new wave in Bengali cinema by exploring new innovative ideas.

Rituda was truly a director with a vision. He had completed his schooling at South Point High School, as a classmate of my cousin (khurtoto didi). As I had left West Bengal when I was only 20 years old, I was not in touch with Bengali Cinema. But I used to hear a name “Rituporno Ghosh” now and again from my cousins when I used to visit my (baper bari) parents place, in Kolkata. Rituporno Ghosh always used to be the part of their intellectual analysis of film industry, but as I was not aware of Bengali Cinema I had no clue about “why they are so excited”.

 

I remember, one of my cousins suggested me to watch “Chokher bali” and gave me a DVD. I liked the film but I did not know that the film was directed by Rituporno Ghosh and same happened when I had watched “Raincoat”. In the film I liked the work of Aishwarya Rai, and I think that “Rain coat” is Aishwarya's best work till date.

 After watching the film “Bariwali”, I came to know Rituda’s potential and about why my cousins were so excited about him. This film was so lyrical. The story was penned by Rituporno himself. The film “Bariwali” is a quiet drama about a lonely, sad, unfortunate middle-aged woman, “Banalata” (Kiron Kher). Released in 2000 it starred Kiron Kher, Rupa Ganguly and Chiranjeet Chakraborty. I especially loved the part where Rituporno portrays a sequence of Banalata dreaming. Watching it gave me goose bumps, a sense of Déjà vu. In the scene he described the khichuri (mixing up) of present and past of Bariwali ‘s memory and her mind’s turmoil, which was unbelievable. It goes on to show how well he understood the nuances of a human mind.

Each of his films represented and glorified womanhood very closely, sensitively and portrayed women's lives, feelings and sufferings. His aesthetics and hold over cinema is one of its kinds! This I felt in the movie “Shob Charitro Kalponik” .Rituporno Ghosh had a great ability to get the best out of an actor. He helped mainstream artists like Raima Sen, Rituparna Sengupta, Bipasa Basu to take their career to the next level through their sensitive works in his movies.

After watching his films I realized that Rituda was not just a great director, but also a terrific writer. While working on one film, he would be brimming with ideas for his next. And each film was different from the other. He was part of a long tradition of exemplary directors in Bengali cinema, which is quite different from Mumbai-based Bollywood mainstream movies, stretching back to world-renowned auteur Satyajit Ray. His creativity and contribution to cinema has taken our cinema to an international platform.

A very enthusiastic and cheerful person by nature, his personal life was unfortunately extremely lonely and yet he had a compulsive need to care for his friends, to make sure they ate and slept well, and stayed happy. Each reel of his film unraveling on the large screen showed Rituparno Ghosh's basic tendency to search and present the loneliness of the individual -- from ‘Unishe April’ through ‘Dahan’ to ‘Asookh’ right till ‘Bariwali’.

Some of Rituparno’s films inspired from the stories of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore including “Chokher bali” show the Tagore of flesh and blood to me. Before I watched the films written by Gurudev ,directed by Rituporno, Tagore was limited somewhere in the pages of Gitanjali and Gitabitan to me. From ‘Chokher Bali’ to ‘Noukadubi’, Rituda beautifully brings out the multiplicity of the man “Tagore” by using different voiceovers through his films.

Though the death of Rituporno Ghosh has created a big vacant place for cinema in Bengal and elsewhere, we will remember him in our hearts generation after generation through his unique creations.

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