Goodbye Rituparno

Rituparno_Ghosh

Women are mysterious creatures, full of wonder and intrigue, forever walking the tightrope of duty and desire. That is how Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, who sadly passed away today at the age of 49, explored women in his films.

Like his French counterpart Jean-Luc Godard, who ushered in new wave cinema in the 1960’s, Ghosh brought the new wave to 21st century Bengali cinema, with films such as Unishe April, Dahan, Chokher Bali. Ghosh was a unique force in the world of Indian film, moving away from grandeur and big budgets, instead concentrating on personal, one-to-one dialogues and small scale productions that didn’t overshadow his characters.

Ghosh always had a tender and sensitive approach to his films, for him cinema wasn’t about rushing things or being heavy-handed, it was about taking your time, letting your actors absorb their characters and allowing your audience the privilege of being part of something special.

Although the majority of his films are devoted to exploring women, he was one of few Indian filmmakers to explore same-sex love. Ghosh was himself openly gay, resisting the desire to hide his sexuality in the closet. His most notable film on this subject was Chitrangada, which is one of the most unique gay themed films to come out of Indian film in its entire history.

The legendary Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee said “I cannot believe that Rituparno is no more. It is very difficult to accept this news. We lost a very promising film director at a very early age.” The sad thing about Ghosh is that his films were never known to a mainstream audience, but then those who use their creativity in such a brave and boundary pushing way never achieve mass acceptance. What is a blessing however, is that his films will always be there for future generations to discover and hopefully inspire.

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