Rituparno Ghosh, born this day in 1963 in Kolkata, was, without doubt, one of the best Indian directors the film fraternity could ever evidence. Known for his versatility in his cinema – created, written or acted in – he has by far been an epitome for portraying emotions with all simplicity and rawness.
Born into a typical Bengali family to Sunil Ghosh a documentary film-maker and painter, Rituparno had a middle-class upbringing in the City of Joy. Following getting a degree in economics from Jadavpur University, he began his career in the world of media at an advertising agency.
With his effective and appealing copywriting, Rituparno soon became a local hit for creating successful ad campaigns in Bengali itself instead of translating formerly created copies and campaigns from English and Hindi.
Often referred to as a humble critique of human relationships, most of his films were about intense human associations bound by worldly duties and responsibilities, beautifully depicting protagonists in complicated but subtle backgrounds.
Rituparno on the sets
Much-admired for his film- making skills, Rituparno Ghosh bagged 12 National Film Awards, three awards at Bombay International Film Festival, two Kalakar Awards (given for Bengali films), and awards at prestigious international film festivals like Berlin International Film Festival, Pusan International Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival, International Film Festival of Kerala, Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Deauville Asian Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival. His National Film Award includes two for best direction (Utsab and Abohoman) and one for best screenplay (Dahan).
Rituparno Ghosh with the Bachchans
The demise of this star film-maker on May 30 last year came as a shock not only to the state but also to the nation. Popular for his humble attitude, he was also praised for his professionalism and excellence in work.
Often in the news for his approach to his personal life for affection, Rituparno stood as an inspiration for the LGBT community in a professional as well as a personal aspect. His 58th National Film Award winning movie Memories in March starred him as the lover of the bereaved son of a Delhi-based mother (Deepti Naval), who discovers after her son’s death his secret love for Ornub (Rituparno).
Film-maker Rituparno Ghosh
Rituparno was an avid researcher on and admirer of Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray, and drew much of his inspiration from them and their works. He was considered to make films that bridged the gap between contemporary film-makers and audiences with an essence of a previous era.
Rabindranath Tagore (left) and Satyajit Ray (right) - inspirations for Rituparno Ghosh
The commemoration of his 50th birthday last year was especially poignant, coming as it was just three months after his premature demise, leaving a hard-to-fill void. Productions houses, television channels, radio stations, the state government and his fans paid tribute in their own special ways. This year, among other celebrations in Kolkata, is a 13 day-long festival (August 22-September 3) being organised by Weavers’ Studio for the Arts along with ICCR, titled ‘Cinema Ghar: Through the Lens of Rituparno Ghosh’, remembering the cerebral film-maker through exhibitions of his memorabilia and photographs, dance performances, musical sessions, debates, conversations with his heroines and of course, screenings of his films, and for the connoisseurs, unseen recordings made during the making of his films and unpublished manuscripts.
Written by Ankita Bose for Team M3.tv