Friday, May 31, 2013


Another artiste left for the heavenly world. Another gifted man finally rested in peace with Mother Nature. Rituparno Ghosh was a contemporary, and a filmmaker who started possibly around the same time whenI started my professional life.

And as I write this, he is no more while I continue to figure out a way to conclude.

If you ask me the best four or five films of Rituparno, I would rather go back to the first eight or ten films of his. The way he started was fabulous, the way he interpreted each of his stories was a treat to watch. His style of making a cinematic statement reminded us of the Bengal trinity – (Satyajit) Ray, (Ritwik) Ghatak and (Mrinal) Sen.

When you see a film, you are usually reminded to view the story the way it is told. There is the formation of the visual, the innovations from actors and the composition that gives the basic statement. Rituparno delved with brilliance in each of these – from Unishe April (19 April) to Shubho Mahurat (a version of the Agatha Christie’s The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side).

His study of the form was prolific, so was his treatment of the story. He was a director who had this habit of being very close to the female characters of his film. They were superbly handled, and each had the opportunity to provide the best characterization of his screenplay.

I can understand that his female actors were definitely at ease with him during the making of a film. The way they interpreted the narrative, there was a subtle hint that each of them came very close to being the character they played on screen. Rituparno’s sheer handling of the feminine psyche gave these films a sheer sense of extraordinary piece of art. His area of expertise was to find the dilemma in the story with the female – and they were never confined to women of a specific age. The stories of the teenager in Titli to that of the grandmother in Dahan are in no way insignificant to each other. That gives the feeling that Rituparno was able to interpret the psychological nuances of women of all ages.

With time, I was hoping to see more such brilliant works of his. However, much to my surprise, he stayed close to the subject of a female mind too often. His stories never made grand varieties, and mostly were close to the study of a woman character – being exploited by the society around. This seemed a bit of monotony, as many filmmakers had already found a lot of comfort dealing with many such examples already.

Rituparno could not spread a variety of subjects for his films. And that is a reason why I do not want to touch on his later films.

His brush with effeminacy, supporting the cause of the differently-gendered persona and continuous exposure of thoughts and action to support their cause was a sort of a setback. Agreed that we need to support these marginal sections of our society, but then Rituparno could have been larger than this life.

These thoughts took him to a path where he could think only along these imaginations, and there was definitely a sense of variety lacking from his works.

A filmmaker who was so versatile when he started, possibly a very learned individual who read and re-read the works put in screen, Rituparno could have been much more than what he ended up with. In the last few years, we see repetitions – something he must have tried hard to defeat as an artist.

His encouragement to young filmmakers, his inspiration to the literary world notwithstanding, Rituparno slowly tended to fade away from the minds of the super-thrilled film watchers and movie buffs. The National awards probably came with almost whatever he made, but the variety was definitely missing.

I wish him a long life after death … something that his followers and admirers must have always wished. His works need to be archived and re-visited with dignity and respect. As a student of cinema, I will always cherish the superb titles, close-ups and casting that he helped his films with.

Artists like Rituparno tend to live long in the hearts and minds of the social mass. The soul of any art-loving person will always tend to view one of those early works of his, which refreshes the mind … that creates a hangover of the glorious world of cinema of the 50s and 60s.

Goodbye Rituparno, may we meet again!


Zero said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Yes we did loose a very talented artist. But then life is like that.

IdleMind said...

@ Zero: Thanks for your comment!

rakhi zahaan said...

the comment am about to post is more suitable for a mail i guess. but still am going with the flow.
why dada, why it would be perceived as 'narrow' when a person finally finds his 'zone' in life!
every time i refer Rituparno as 'him' i feel like tourchering him. a person who never had a proper pronoun to refer him has so much a bigger fight all his life.
when i look back to his life story,it becomes clear that he must have found his 'peace' in the last days. thats why getting National Award was such a big thing for him as he had written in his public diary on rabibar.may be he could have taken versatility road if he were alive now. his last films are more free from his 'other' films. but that voice must be recognized too. what makes me sad is we did not criticise those 'diff issue' films. rather we chose 'to be distanced' like ppl used to do with leprosy stricken person.
So, thank you dada for bringing up the topic and writing so honestly about his journey. actually i do want a few more film blogs from you IM. would love to read those and comment too just to enrich myself. :)

rakhi zahaan said...

** correction. getting National Award for Chitrangada-The Crowning Wish was such a big thing for him.....

IdleMind said...

@ rakhi zahaan: Glad that you made time to review the blog. And I see your point when you wrote these lines. For me, this tribute was to Rituparno the filmmaker more than anything else. I started seeing his works as art forms and his films communicated the way it should. I don't think his films were necessarily 'narrow' but we do not necessarily expect a filmmaker to continuously focus the camera on his/her life. Even if he does, they come and go in one or two works. However, the crusade Rituparno started was to appear in every film. If you look at every artist, the thing that keeps them 'alive' is the variety. I just hinted at that. In art, though there is scope for philanthropy, the subject needs to be created fresh ... probably every single time.

short poems said...

Beautiful, Thanks for sharing your thoughts x