By Special Report, Priyanka Guha & Suhrid Ghosh: –Rituparno Ghosh, was an Indian film director, actor, writer and lyricist in the Bengali cinema.After pursuing a degree in economics he started his career as a creative artist at an advertising agency. In 1992, his debut film Hirer Angti released. In 1994, his next film Unishe April released which won National Film Award for Best Feature Film.Ghosh was a self-professed Satyajit Ray fan and inspired other filmmakers like Mithaq Kazimi who adapted Ghosh’s film Raincoat in English.In his career spanning almost two decades, he won 12 National and many International awards.Ghosh died on 30 May 2013 in Kolkata after a heart attack.His unreleased Bengali movie named Taak Jhaank was honoured and released at the 19th Kolkata International Film Festival.
Rituparno Ghosh was born in a Bengali Kayastha Hindu family on 31 August 1963 in Kolkata. His father, Sunil Ghosh, was a documentary film maker and painter. He completed his schooling at South Point High School, and earned a degree in economics from Jadavpur University, Kolkata.
Before his career in film, Rituparno Ghosh worked at the Response India advertising agency and became known as an especially effective copywriter in Kolkata. He was particularly noted for composing succinct, appealing one-liners and slogans for ad campaigns in Bengali during the 1980s. At the time, the trend in Kolkata was to translate all-India advertisement campaigns originally composed in English and Hindi into Bengali. Ghosh won recognition for his ability to initiate campaigns in Bengali. Among his noted ad campaigns were ‘Sharad Samman’ and ‘Bongo Jiboner Ango’ for the antiseptic ointment, Boroline, and others for Frooti, the largest-selling mango drink in India. Some commentators noted that his power to appeal to consumers through ad campaigns helped make his films appealing to wider audiences, particularly to middle class Bengalis. In 1990, Rituparno got his first break in documentary film when his own agency, Tele-Response, a member of the Response family of companies, was commissioned to make a documentary on Vande Mataram for Doordarshan.Rituparno Ghosh was one of the most acclaimed film directors of India, and was himself an admirer of Satyajit Ray. His films glorified womanhood and closely and sensitively portrayed women’s lives, feelings and sufferings.According to Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, Ghosh had wonderful understanding of the female psyche. In his last films he addressed issues of homosexuality and gender.
An article in the newspaper Live Mint categorised Ghosh’s cinematic career in three phases: In his early films, he tried to portray Bengali middle-class lives, their aspirations and desires;in the second phase, he mainly worked with Bollywood actors and made films in Hindi and English as well as Bengali; in the third and the last phase his movies mainly dealt with sexuality.
Rituparno Ghosh had deep interests in the classics and made multiple films of Rabindranath Tagore’s works. According to film-maker Goutam Ghose.
His films, with their sensitive portrayal of human relationships, anguish, trauma and love in a fast-changing, post-liberalisation India charmed audiences. His brilliant story-telling reflected contemporary society like never before. While his death creates a tremendous void that can never be filled, Rituparno’s work blazed a trail that has paved the way for an entire generation of filmmakers who have dared to be different. It was Rituparno who gave them the courage.
He looked at ordinary middle-class relationships from an angle that had never been explored. For example, the mother-daughter relationship in ‘Unishe April’ was refreshing, yet realistic in a society that was going through churning.
Goutam Ghose also felt that Rituparno Ghosh was the best film director of his generation. He directed and as well as acted in such films which tried to reject the concept that homosexual relationship is all about a physical relationship. He said in an interview in 2010— “There is much more to such relationships. Same-sex relationships, too, are extremely soulful, emotional and have the same pathos that any heterosexual relationship has.”