Credited for ushering a new wave in Bengali cinema, director-turned-actor Rituparno Ghosh was known for an uncanny insight into the female psyche besides exploring the touchy subject of same sex relationships.
At a time when the Bengali film industry was passing through a lean phase in the 90s, he exploded on the scene with Unishe April and Dahan. These films immediately struck a chord with the educated middle class that had stopped coming to the movie halls to watch Bengali films that survived on cheap, crassy story lines, theatrical dialogue and picturisation.
Ghosh started his film journey with a children’s film Hirer Angti in 1992, which won him an instant recognition. However, he entered the job market as a copy writer in a Kolkata-based agency Response, where he produced soem memorable campaigns.
A self-confessed Satyajit Ray fan, Ghosh’s films mostly dealt with women and their inner feelings. But he also explored same sex relationships with films like Chitrangada: The Crowning Wish and Memories in March.
A vastly read man, Ghosh was never apologetic about his cross-dressing or his sexuality and in Kaushik Ganguly’s Arekti Premer Galpo and Sanjoy Nag’s Memories in March, he played pivotal gay roles.
Ghosh is credited with starting a new wave in Bengali cinema when it was passing through a lean phase in the 90s, enriching it with his insight into the female psyche besides exploring the touchy subject of gay relationships.
"No one understood women better than Rituparno," said actress Raima Sen, who was cast in several of his films.
Born on August 31, 1963, Ghosh grew up in Kolkata. His second film Unishe April — starring Aparna Sen and Debashree Roy — won him his first of the 12 National Awards.
His other National Award winning Bengali films are Dahan, Bariwali, Asukh, Utsab, Shubho Mahurat, Chokher Bali, Dosar, Shob Charitro Kalponik and Abohoman.
In 2007, Ghosh made his only English movie The Last Lear, that starred Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachhan. It won the National Award for the best feature film in English. He also directed two Hindi movies – Raincoat (2004) and Sunglass (2012). The former was adjudged the winner of the best feature film in Hindi at the National Awards.
Ghosh did his schooling from South Point and later pursued economics at Jadavpur University. He also wrote lucid and fluent prose, and his Bengali column in a local daily was widely read.
Ritupano Ghosh was in the middle of directing a film on the hit TV series Byomkesh Bakshi titled Satyanweshi. Director Sujoy Ghosh of Kahaani is playing the legendary Bengali detective in the film.
(With agency inputs)