Ritwik Ghatak is hailed all over the world as one of the rare geniuses of the silver screen. And yet, how many of his movies have you seen? Here are 8 Ghatak movies you must see before you die.
He has been called the ‘Radical genius of Indian Cinema. Ritwik Ghatak, regarded as one of the best Indian directors of the 20th Century, together with Satyajit Ray and Mrinal Sen, is still largely unknown in and outside of India. Fortunately, this is slowly changing as his films become accessible again and can now be studied in detail. Here’s his IMDB page and it’s a shame that it doesn’t even have an image to it.
Here are the (only!) 8 movies he made and which, we believe, every Bengali must see. It’s time we raised a toast to the unsung genius of Ritwik Ghatak.
Meghe Dhaka Tara
Based on the novel by Shaktipada Rajguru, Meghe Dhaka Tara is probably Ritwik Ghatak’s most celebrated movie. Who can forget the stellar acting of Supriya in this movie. This movie is probably the most moving portrayal of life in Bengal after the dreaded partition. And this song by A T Kanan is one of the most beautifully shot classical songs for a movie.
Ranked by a critics’ poll at #11 among the all-time-greatest films, Subarnarekha was part of a trilogy about lives torn apart by the partition .
Titash Ekti Nodir Naam
One of the earliest examples of hyperlink cinema, this film depicts the riverine life of fishermen on the banks of the Titas river in Bangladesh. Titas Ekti Nodir Naam is ranked as the best Bangladeshi film ever made, by the British Film Institute.
Jukti Takko ar Gappo
With unique camera work, this film sees Ghatak playing the protagonist – an intellectual & hopeless drunk (‘a humbug’ in his own words) who is driven from his home & travels the countryside meeting many a unique character with their own stories to tell. It was also one of the first movies to dwell on the Naxalite movement just taking shape in Bengal.
A film about one man’s obsession (brilliantly played by Ghatak’s favorite Kali Banerjee) with his favorite rusty car sees Ritwik Ghatak at his sarcastic & hilarious best. Wikipedia says this about the movie – “A comedy-drama film with science fiction themes, it is one of the earliest Indian films to portray an inanimate object, in this case an automobile, as a character in the story. It achieves this through the use of sounds, recorded during post-production, to emphasize the car’s bodily functions and movements”. Talk about being ahead of time.
Nagarik is an honest look at how young men in post-partition Kolkata dealt with career, life, hardships & love. The ending scene of the two lovers walking away in rain is probably one of the most hopeful images ever created on the silver screen,
Komal Gandhar (the name for E-FLAT in Bengali) explores three themes – the dilemma of Anusua, the lead character, divided leadership of IPTA and the fallout of the partition of India. Unlike his other films, this one runs along an upbeat mood with the lead pair of lovers (Vrigu and Anusua) being reunited. And the music again adds to the flavor of this flick.
Bari Theke Paliye
Bari Theke Paliye is the story of an unruly 8 year old who runs away from home & his father (who he sees as an oppressive demon) to the mythical city of Calcutta only to face the realities of life in a big city. This is a tour-de-force of a director who was at home both in rural & metropolitan Bengal. A brilliant coming of age movie that will hold you riveted to the screen.
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