Rituparno Ghosh: Magnanimous genius

Zee Media Bureau/ Aparna Mudi

New Delhi: Rituparno Ghosh, the exemplary Bengali film director who passed away a couple of months ago, would have turned 50 on Saturday. The award winning filmmaker was possibly one of the best respected of this era.

His films exemplify beauty in every shot; the themes are bold but never done over the top or to prove a point. A self professed Satyajit Ray fan, Rituparno is known to have used his influence in his movies extensively.

He debuted with ‘Hirer Angti’ with Moonmoon Sen in the lead, but it was his second film that got him the recognition and fame with two National Awards. ‘Unishe April’, that starred Aparna Sen, Deboshree Roy, and Prosenjit Chatterjee earned him both commercial and critical acclaim.

He worked with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan first in ‘Chokher Bali’ - 2003, and then in ‘Raincoat’ opposite Ajay Devgn in 2004. ‘Raincoat’, which is based on O. Henry’s short story ‘The Gift of the Magi’, was shot in 17 days and Ghosh was given the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi.

Rituparno also directed great actors and stars like Amitabh Bachchan in ‘The Last Lear’; Rakhee, Sharmila Tagore and Nandita Das in ‘Shubho Mahurat’; Kirron Kher in ‘Bariwali’ among many others. Before he died he finished his production for ‘Satyanweshi’, based on Saradindu Chattopadhyay’s detective genius Byomkesh Bakshi.

The genius of Rituparno doesn’t lie just in his films but in almost everything he did. He was the editor for a popular Bengali magazine ‘Anandolok’ till 2004 and then did the same for ‘Sambad Pratidin’ till his death in April.

His love for both Ray and Rabindranath Tagore shone through his work. He glorified feminity, looked into and portrayed human emotions in the most detailed way possible. Each of his characters emulated the indomitable spirit of the film-maker, transcending the genres of art and commercial film making. It wasn’t that he confined himself to a certain theme. He explored the worlds of different periods, characters, families, relationships, and narratives.

His passing away is a great loss to not only Indian cinema but the art of film making in itself. His birthday today can only remind us of a magnificent man, film maker who shared his genius and then left us wanting more. And yet we must celebrate the life of a man who could capture some of the best human stories with exquisiteness for the sake of the world.