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Ritwik Ghatak

Ritwik Ghatak

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Ritwik Ghatak was a Bengali
Bengali people
The Bengali people are an ethnic community native to the historic region of Bengal in South Asia. They speak Bengali , which is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit and Sanskrit languages. In their native language, they are referred to as বাঙালী...

 Indian filmmaker
Cinema of India
The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

 and script writer
Screenwriter
Screenwriters or scriptwriters or scenario writers are people who write/create the short or feature-length screenplays from which mass media such as films, television programs, Comics or video games are based.-Profession:...

. Ghatak is considered to be one of the greatest and most significant filmmakers in Indian and Bengali cinema as well as the world. Along with prominent contemporary Bengali filmmakers Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray was an Indian Bengali filmmaker. He is regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of 20th century cinema. Ray was born in the city of Kolkata into a Bengali family prominent in the world of arts and literature...

 and Mrinal Sen
Mrinal Sen
Mrinal Sen is a Bengali Indian filmmaker. He was born on 14 May 1923, in the town of Faridpur, now in Bangladesh in a Hindu family. After finishing his high school there, he left home to come to Calcutta as a student and studied physics at the well-known Scottish Church College and at the...

, his cinema is primarily remembered for its meticulous depiction of social reality. Although their roles were often adversarial, they were ardent admirers of each other's work, and in doing so, the three directors charted the independent trajectory of parallel cinema
Parallel Cinema
The Indian New Wave, commonly known in India as Art Cinema or Parallel Cinema as an alternative to the mainstream commercial cinema, is a specific movement in Indian cinema, known for its serious content, realism and naturalism, with a keen eye on the sociopolitical climate of the times...

, as a counterpoint to the mainstream fare of Hindi cinema in India.

Early life


Ritwik Ghatak was born in Dhaka
Dhaka
Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh and the principal city of Dhaka Division. Dhaka is a megacity and one of the major cities of South Asia. Located on the banks of the Buriganga River, Dhaka, along with its metropolitan area, had a population of over 15 million in 2010, making it the largest city...

 in East Bengal
East Bengal
East Bengal was the name used during two periods in the 20th century for a territory that roughly corresponded to the modern state of Bangladesh. Both instances involved a violent partition of Bengal....

 (now Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

). He and his family moved to Calcutta
Kolkata
Kolkata , formerly known as Calcutta, is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it was the commercial capital of East India...

 (now Kolkata) in West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 just before millions of other refugees from East Bengal began to flood into the city, fleeing the catastrophic Bengal famine of 1943
Bengal famine of 1943
The Bengal famine of 1943 struck the Bengal. Province of pre-partition India. Estimates are that between 1.5 and 4 million people died of starvation, malnutrition and disease, out of Bengal’s 60.3 million population, half of them dying from disease after food became available in December 1943 As...

 and the partition of Bengal
Partition of Bengal (1947)
The Partition of Bengal in 1947, part of the Partition of India, was a religiously based partition that divided the British Indian province of Bengal between India and Pakistan...

 in 1947. Identification with this tide of refugees was to define his practice, providing an overriding metaphor
Metaphor
A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels." Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via...

 for cultural dismemberment and exile that unified his subsequent creative work. The 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War
Bangladesh Liberation War
The Bangladesh Liberation War was an armed conflict pitting East Pakistan and India against West Pakistan. The war resulted in the secession of East Pakistan, which became the independent nation of Bangladesh....

, which led to more refugees fleeing to India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, was to also have a similar impact on his work.

Creative career


In 1948, Ghatak wrote his first play Kalo sayar (The Dark Lake), and participated in a revival of the landmark play Nabanna
Nabanna
Nabanna is a Bengali harvest celebration usually celebrated with food and dance and music. It's a festival of food; many local preparations of Bengali cuisine like pithe are cooked and offered.-Celebration:...

. In 1951, Ghatak joined the Indian People's Theatre Association ( IPTA
Ipta
IPTA can refer to:* Indian People's Theatre Association* International Pulsar Timing Array...

 ). He wrote, directed and acted in plays and translated Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...

 and Gogol into Bengali. In 1957, he wrote and directed his last play Jwala (The Burning).

Ghatak entered the film industry with Nemai Ghosh's Chinnamul (1950) as actor and assistant director. Chinnamul was followed two years later by Ghatak's first completed film Nagarik
Nagarik
Nagarik ,also spelled as Nagorik, The Citizen in English, was the first feature-length film directed by Indian director Ritwik Ghatak. Completed in 1952, it preceded Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali as perhaps, the first example of an art film in Bengali cinema, but is deprived of that honor, since...

(1952), both major break-throughs for the Indian cinema
Cinema of India
The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

. Ghatak's early work sought theatrical and literary precedent in bringing together a documentary
Documentary film
Documentary films constitute a broad category of nonfictional motion pictures intended to document some aspect of reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction or maintaining a historical record...

 realism, a stylized performance often drawn from the folk theatre, and a Brechtian use of the filmic apparatus.

Ghatak's first commercial release was Ajantrik
Ajantrik
Ajantrik is a 1958 Indian Bengali film written and directed by parallel filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak...

(1958), a comedy-drama
Comedy-drama
Comedy-drama is a genre of theatre, film and television programs which combines humorous and serious content.-Theatre:Traditional western theatre, beginning with the ancient Greeks, was divided into comedy and tragedy...

 film with science fiction
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 themes. It was one of the earliest Indian films to portray an inanimate object, in this case an automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

, as a character in the story.

Ghatak's greatest commercial success as a script writer was for Madhumati
Madhumati
Madhumati is a 1958 Hindi film produced and directed by Bimal Roy, and written by Ritwik Ghatak and Rajinder Singh Bedi. The music was composed by Salil Choudhury with the lyrics by Shailendra. The film stars Dilip Kumar, Vyjayantimala, Pran, and Johnny Walker. It was one of the earliest films to...

(1958), one of the earliest films to deal with the theme of reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

. It was a Hindi film
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 directed by another Bengali filmmaker Bimal Roy
Bimal Roy
Bimal Roy was one of the most acclaimed Indian film directors of all time. He is particularly noted for his realistic and socialistic films like Do Bigha Zamin, Parineeta, Biraj Bahu, Madhumati, Sujata, and Bandini, making him an important director of Hindi cinema...

. The film earned Ghatak his first award nomination, for the Filmfare Best Story Award
Filmfare Best Story Award
The Filmfare Award for Best Story is an given by Filmfare as part of its annual Filmfare Awards for Hindi films, to recognise a writer who wrote a film's story.-1950s:* 1955 Mukhram Sharma - Aulad...

.

Ritwik Ghatak directed eight full-length films. His best-known films, Meghe Dhaka Tara
Meghe Dhaka Tara
Meghe Dhaka Tara is a 1960 film by written and director Ritwik Ghatak, based on a novel Shaktipada Rajguru. It stars Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Gita Dey, Bijan Bhattacharya, Niranjan Roy, and Gyanesh Mukherjee...

(The Cloud-Capped Star) (1960), Komal Gandhar (E-Flat) (1961), and Subarnarekha
Subarnarekha (film)
Subarnarekha is an Indian Bengali film directed by Ritwik Ghatak. It was produced in 1962 but was not released until 1965. It was part of the trilogy, Meghe Dhaka Tara , Komal Gandhar , and Subarnarekha , all dealing with the aftermath of the Partition of India in 1947 and the refugees coping with...

(Golden Lining) (1962), a trilogy based in Calcutta and addressing the condition of refugee-hood, proved controversial and the commercial failure of Komal Gandhar (E-Flat) and Subarnarekha prevented him from making features through the remainder of the 1960s. In all three films, he used a basic and at times starkly realistic storyline, upon which he inscribed a range of mythic references, especially of the Mother Deliverer, through a dense overlay of visual and aural registers.

Ghatak moved briefly to Pune
Pune
Pune , is the eighth largest metropolis in India, the second largest in the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai, and the largest city in the Western Ghats. Once the centre of power of the Maratha Empire, it is situated 560 metres above sea level on the Deccan plateau at the confluence of the Mula ...

 in 1966, where he taught at the Film and Television Institute of India
Film and Television Institute of India
Film and Television Institute of India , is an autonomous Institute under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India. It is fully aided by Central Government of India. It is situated in the premises of the erstwhile Prabhat Film Company in Pune, India...

 (FTII). During his year at FTII, he was involved in the making of two student films, viz., Fear and Rendezvous.

Ghatak returned to film making only in the 1970s, when a Bangladeshi producer financed the 1973 epic Titash Ekti Nadir Naam
Titash Ekti Nadir Naam
Titash Ekti Nadir Naam is a 1973 Bengali film directed by Ritwik Ghatak. The movie was based on a novel by the same name, written by Advaita Malla Burman. The movie explores the life of the fishermen on the bank of the Titash River in Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh.Rosy Samad, Golam Mostafa, Kabori,...

(A River Called Titas). Making films became difficult because of his poor health due to extreme alcoholism and consequent diseases. His last film was the autobiographical Jukti Takko Aar Gappo
Jukti Takko Aar Gappo
Jukti Takko Aar Gappo is a 1974 Bengali film directed by Ritwik Ghatak....

(Reason, Debate And Story) (1974), in which he portrayed Neelkantha (Nilkanth
Nilkanth
Nilkanth is a name used to refer to Shiva, one of the Hindu trinity of Creator , Preserver , and Destroyer .According to the Purnas, Shiva received this name as he drank the poison that emerged from the oceans after it was churned for getting 'amrut' - the nectar of immortality...

) the lead character. He also had a number of incomplete feature and short films in his credit.

Ghatak's father Suresh Chandra Ghatak was a district magistrate and also a poet and playwright; his mother's name was Indubala Devi. He was their 11th and youngest child. His elder brother Manish Ghatak was a radical writer of his time, a professor of English and a social activist who was deeply involved with the IPTA
Ipta
IPTA can refer to:* Indian People's Theatre Association* International Pulsar Timing Array...

 theatre movement in its heyday and later on headed the Tebhaga Andolan
Tebhaga movement
The Tebhaga movement was a militant campaign initiated in Bengal by the Kisan Sabha in 1946. At that time share-cropping peasants had to give half of their harvest to the owners of the land...

 of North Bengal. Manish Ghatak's daughter is the writer and activist Mahasweta Devi
Mahasweta Devi
Mahasweta Devi is an Indian social activist and writer.- Biography :Mahasweta Devi was born in 1926 in Dhaka, to literary parents in a Hindu Brahmin family. Her father Manish Ghatak was a well known poet and novelist of the Kallol era, who used the pseudonym Jubanashwa...

. Ghatak's wife Surama was a school teacher and his son Ritaban is a film-maker.

Impact and influence


At the time of his death (February 1976), Ghatak's primary impact would seem to have been through former students. Though his stint teaching film at FTII was brief, one-time students Mani Kaul
Mani Kaul
Mani Kaul was an Indian film director of Hindi films. He graduated from the Film and Television Institute of India where he was a student of Ritwik Ghatak and later became a teacher. Started his career with Uski Roti , which won him the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie, he went on to win...

, John Abraham, and especially Kumar Shahani
Kumar Shahani
Kumar Shahani is a noted Indian Film director, born in Larkana, Sindh , on 7 December 1940. After the Partition of India his family shifted to the city of Bombay...

 (among many others), carried Ghatak's ideas and theories, which were further elaborated upon in his book Cinema And I, into the mainstream of Indian art film
Parallel Cinema
The Indian New Wave, commonly known in India as Art Cinema or Parallel Cinema as an alternative to the mainstream commercial cinema, is a specific movement in Indian cinema, known for its serious content, realism and naturalism, with a keen eye on the sociopolitical climate of the times...

. Other students of his at the FTII included the acclaimed filmmakers Saeed Akhtar Mirza
Saeed Akhtar Mirza
Saeed Akhtar Mirza is an Indian screenwriter and director in Hindi films and television. He is the maker of important Parallel cinema films like Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho! , Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyon Ata Hai , Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro and Naseem , which won two National Film Awards in 1996.He is...

 and Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Adoor Gopalakrishnan
Moutatthu "Adoor" Gopalakrishnan Unnithan is an Indian film director, script writer, and producer. Adoor Gopalakrishnan had a major role in revolutionizing Malayalam cinema and is regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of India.. Adoor's first film Swayamvaram pioneered the new wave cinema...

.

Ghatak stood entirely outside the world of Indian commercial film
Cinema of India
The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

. None of the elements of the commercial cinema (singing and dancing, melodrama, stars, glitz) featured in his work. He was watched by students and intelligentsia, not by the masses. His students have also tended to work in the art cinema or independent cinema tradition.

While other neo-realist directors like Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray was an Indian Bengali filmmaker. He is regarded as one of the greatest auteurs of 20th century cinema. Ray was born in the city of Kolkata into a Bengali family prominent in the world of arts and literature...

 succeeded in creating an audience outside India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 during their lifetime, Ghatak was not so fortunate. While he was alive, his films were appreciated primarily within India. Satyajit Ray did what he could to promote his colleague, but Ray's generous praise did not translate into international fame for Ghatak. For example, Ghatak's Nagarik
Nagarik
Nagarik ,also spelled as Nagorik, The Citizen in English, was the first feature-length film directed by Indian director Ritwik Ghatak. Completed in 1952, it preceded Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali as perhaps, the first example of an art film in Bengali cinema, but is deprived of that honor, since...

(1952) was perhaps the earliest example of a Bengali art film, preceding Ray's Pather Panchali by three years, but was not released until after his death in 1977. His first commercial release Ajantrik
Ajantrik
Ajantrik is a 1958 Indian Bengali film written and directed by parallel filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak...

(1958) was also one of the earliest Indian films to portray an inanimate object, in this case an automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

, as a character in the story, many years before the Herbie
Herbie
Herbie is an anthropomorphic Volkswagen Beetle, a character that is featured in several Disney motion pictures starting with the 1968 feature film The Love Bug. He has a mind of his own and is capable of driving himself, and is a serious contender in auto racing competitions...

 films. Ghatak's Bari Theke Paliye
Bari Theke Paliye
Bari Theke Paliye is a 1958 Bengali film by director Ritwik Ghatak. It stars Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Gita Ghatak, Bijan Bhattacharya, Niranjan Roy, and Gyanesh Mukherjee....

(1958) had a similar plot to François Truffaut
François Truffaut
François Roland Truffaut was an influential film critic and filmmaker and one of the founders of the French New Wave. In a film career lasting over a quarter of a century, he remains an icon of the French film industry. He was also a screenwriter, producer, and actor working on over twenty-five...

's later film The 400 Blows
The 400 Blows
The 400 Blows is a 1959 French film directed by François Truffaut. One of the defining films of the French New Wave, it displays many of the characteristic traits of the movement. The story revolves around Antoine Doinel, an ordinary adolescent in Paris, who is thought by his parents and teachers...

(1959), but Ghatak's film remained obscure while Truffaut's film went on to become one of the most famous films of the French New Wave
French New Wave
The New Wave was a blanket term coined by critics for a group of French filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s, influenced by Italian Neorealism and classical Hollywood cinema. Although never a formally organized movement, the New Wave filmmakers were linked by their self-conscious rejection of...

. One of Ghatak's final films, A River Named Titas
Titash Ekti Nadir Naam
Titash Ekti Nadir Naam is a 1973 Bengali film directed by Ritwik Ghatak. The movie was based on a novel by the same name, written by Advaita Malla Burman. The movie explores the life of the fishermen on the bank of the Titash River in Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh.Rosy Samad, Golam Mostafa, Kabori,...

(1973), is one of the earliest films to be told in a hyperlink format
Hyperlink cinema
Hyperlink cinema is a term coined by author Alissa Quart, who used the term in her review of the film Happy Endings for the film journal Film Comment in 2005. Film critic Roger Ebert popularized the term when reviewing the film Syriana in 2005...

, featuring multiple characters in a collection of interconnected stories, predating Robert Altman
Robert Altman
Robert Bernard Altman was an American film director and screenwriter known for making films that are highly naturalistic, but with a stylized perspective. In 2006, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized his body of work with an Academy Honorary Award.His films MASH , McCabe and...

's Nashville (1975) by two years.

Ghatak's only major commercial success was Madhumati
Madhumati
Madhumati is a 1958 Hindi film produced and directed by Bimal Roy, and written by Ritwik Ghatak and Rajinder Singh Bedi. The music was composed by Salil Choudhury with the lyrics by Shailendra. The film stars Dilip Kumar, Vyjayantimala, Pran, and Johnny Walker. It was one of the earliest films to...

(1958), a Hindi film
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 which he wrote the screenplay
Screenplay
A screenplay or script is a written work that is made especially for a film or television program. Screenplays can be original works or adaptations from existing pieces of writing. In them, the movement, actions, expression, and dialogues of the characters are also narrated...

 for. The film was one of the earliest to deal with the theme of reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

 and is believed to have been the source of inspiration for many later works dealing with the theme of reincarnation in Indian cinema
Cinema of India
The cinema of India consists of films produced across India, which includes the cinematic culture of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal. Indian films came to be followed throughout South Asia and...

, Indian television
Television in India
Television is one of the major mass media of India and is a huge industry and has thousands of programmes in all the states of India. The small screen has produced numerous celebrities of their own kind some even attaining national fame. TV soaps are extremely popular with housewives as well as...

, and perhaps world cinema
World cinema
World cinema is a term used primarily in English language speaking countries to refer to the films and film industries of non-English speaking countries. It is therefore often used interchangeably with the term foreign film...

. It may have been the source of inspiration for the American film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud
The Reincarnation of Peter Proud
The Reincarnation of Peter Proud is an American motion picture released by Bing Crosby Productions, and Cinerama Productions Corporation. In the supernatural suspense genre, the film was directed by J...

(1975) and the Hindi film Karz
Karz (film)
Karz is a 1980 Hindi film directed by Subhash Ghai, starring Rishi Kapoor and Tina Munim as leads, also in a feat of perfect casting was Simi Garewal, who stood out in her role of Kamini Verma, the murderous wife from the past life, which won her a Filmfare nomination.Film's music was by...

(1980), both of which dealt with reincarnation and have been influential in their respective cultures. Karz in particular was remade several times: as the Kannada film
Cinema of Karnataka
The cinema of Karnataka , sometimes colloquially referred to as Sandalwood and as Chandanavana in Kannada, encompasses movies made in the Indian state of Karnataka based in Bangalore. Most of the movies are made in Kannada, with a handful of them in Konkani or Tulu. Today more than 100 films are...

 Yuga Purusha (1989), the Tamil film
Tamil cinema
Tamil cinema is the film industry based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India, dedicated to the production of films in the Tamil language. It is based in Chennai's Kodambakkam district, where several South Indian film production companies are headquartered...

 Enakkul Oruvan
Enakkul Oruvan
Enakkul Oruvan is a 1984 Tamil film directed by SP. Muthuraman, starring Kamal Haasan in the lead role. A remake of Subhash Ghai's Hindi film, Karz , starring Rishi Kapoor, and Tina Munim.-Cast:...

(1984), and more recently the Bollywood
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 film Karzzzz
Karzzzz (film)
Karzzzz is a 2008 Bollywood film directed by Satish Kaushik. The film stars Himesh Reshammiya and Urmila Matondkar. It is a remake of Karz , and also inspired by The Reincarnation of Peter Proud.- Plot :...

(2008). Karz and The Reincarnation of Peter Proud may have also inspired the American film Chances Are
Chances Are (film)
Chances Are is a 1989 romantic comedy film written by Perry & Randy Howze and directed by Emile Ardolino. Starring Cybill Shepherd, Robert Downey, Jr., Ryan O'Neal, and Mary Stuart Masterson. The original music score was composed by Maurice Jarre.-Plot:...

(1989). The most recent film to be directly inspired by Madhumati is the hit Bollywood film Om Shanti Om
Om Shanti Om (film)
Om Shanti Om is a 2007 Bollywood musical film directed and choreographed by Farah Khan. It stars Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in the lead roles while Arjun Rampal, Shreyas Talpade, and Kirron Kher feature in supporting roles...

(2007), which led to the late Bimal Roy
Bimal Roy
Bimal Roy was one of the most acclaimed Indian film directors of all time. He is particularly noted for his realistic and socialistic films like Do Bigha Zamin, Parineeta, Biraj Bahu, Madhumati, Sujata, and Bandini, making him an important director of Hindi cinema...

's daughter Rinki Bhattacharya
Rinki Bhattacharya
Rinki Bhattacharya is an Indian writer, columnist and documentary filmmaker. She is the Vice Chairperson of 'Children's Film Society of India' and the founder Chairperson of 'Bimal Roy Memorial & Film Society' -Biography:...

 accusing the film of plagiarism and threatening legal action against its producers.

Ghatak's work as a director also had an impact on many later Indian filmmakers, including those from the Bengali film industry
Bengali cinema
Bengali cinema refers to the Bengali language filmmaking industries in the Bengal region of South Asia. There are two major film-making hubs in the region: one in Kolkata, West Bengal, India and the other in Dhaka, Bangladesh .The history of cinema in Bengal dates back to the 1890s, when the first...

 and elsewhere. For example, Mira Nair
Mira Nair
Mira Nair is an Indian film director and producer based in New York. Her production company is Mirabai Films.She was educated at Delhi University and Harvard University. Her debut feature film, Salaam Bombay! , won the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival and also earned the nomination...

 has cited Ghatak as well as Ray as the reasons she became a filmmaker. Ghatak's impact as a director began to spread beyond India much later; beginning in the 1990s, a project to restore Ghatak's films was undertaken, and international exhibitions (and subsequent DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

 releases) have belatedly generated an increasingly global audience. In a critics' poll of all-time greatest films conducted by the Asian film magazine Cinemaya
Cinemaya
Cinemaya is an influential film magazine established in 1988 devoted exclusively to coverage of Asian film. It is published in New Delhi, India and distributed internationally. The present editor-in-chief of Cinemaya is Aruna Vasudev, noted film journalist...

in 1998, Subarnarekha
Subarnarekha (film)
Subarnarekha is an Indian Bengali film directed by Ritwik Ghatak. It was produced in 1962 but was not released until 1965. It was part of the trilogy, Meghe Dhaka Tara , Komal Gandhar , and Subarnarekha , all dealing with the aftermath of the Partition of India in 1947 and the refugees coping with...

was ranked at #11 on the list. In the 2002 Sight & Sound
Sight & Sound
Sight & Sound is a British monthly film magazine published by the British Film Institute .Sight & Sound was first published in 1932 and in 1934 management of the magazine was handed to the nascent BFI, which still publishes the magazine today...

critics' and directors' poll for all-time greatest films, Meghe Dhaka Tara
Meghe Dhaka Tara
Meghe Dhaka Tara is a 1960 film by written and director Ritwik Ghatak, based on a novel Shaktipada Rajguru. It stars Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Gita Dey, Bijan Bhattacharya, Niranjan Roy, and Gyanesh Mukherjee...

was ranked at #231 and Komal Gandhar at #346 on the list. In 2007, A River Named Titas topped the list of 10 best Bangladeshi films
Cinema of Bangladesh
The Bangladeshi film industry has been based in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, since 1956. As of 2004, it produced approximately 100 movies a year, with an average movie budget of about 20,000,000 Bangladeshi taka...

, as chosen in the audience and critics' polls conducted by the British Film Institute
British Film Institute
The British Film Institute is a charitable organisation established by Royal Charter to:-Cinemas:The BFI runs the BFI Southbank and IMAX theatre, both located on the south bank of the River Thames in London...

.

Director and screenwriter

  • Nagarik
    Nagarik
    Nagarik ,also spelled as Nagorik, The Citizen in English, was the first feature-length film directed by Indian director Ritwik Ghatak. Completed in 1952, it preceded Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali as perhaps, the first example of an art film in Bengali cinema, but is deprived of that honor, since...

    (The Citizen) (1952)
  • Ajantrik
    Ajantrik
    Ajantrik is a 1958 Indian Bengali film written and directed by parallel filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak...

    (The Unmechanical, The Pathetic Fallacy) (1958)
  • Bari Theke Paliye
    Bari Theke Paliye
    Bari Theke Paliye is a 1958 Bengali film by director Ritwik Ghatak. It stars Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Gita Ghatak, Bijan Bhattacharya, Niranjan Roy, and Gyanesh Mukherjee....

    (The Runaway) (1958)
  • Meghe Dhaka Tara
    Meghe Dhaka Tara
    Meghe Dhaka Tara is a 1960 film by written and director Ritwik Ghatak, based on a novel Shaktipada Rajguru. It stars Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Gita Dey, Bijan Bhattacharya, Niranjan Roy, and Gyanesh Mukherjee...

    (The Cloud-Capped Star) (1960)
  • Kamol Gandhar (E-Flat) (1961)
  • Subarnarekha
    Subarnarekha (film)
    Subarnarekha is an Indian Bengali film directed by Ritwik Ghatak. It was produced in 1962 but was not released until 1965. It was part of the trilogy, Meghe Dhaka Tara , Komal Gandhar , and Subarnarekha , all dealing with the aftermath of the Partition of India in 1947 and the refugees coping with...

    (1962/1965)
  • Titash Ekti Nadir Naam
    Titash Ekti Nadir Naam
    Titash Ekti Nadir Naam is a 1973 Bengali film directed by Ritwik Ghatak. The movie was based on a novel by the same name, written by Advaita Malla Burman. The movie explores the life of the fishermen on the bank of the Titash River in Brahmanbaria, Bangladesh.Rosy Samad, Golam Mostafa, Kabori,...

    (A River Called Titash) (1973)
  • Jukti Takko Aar Gappo
    Jukti Takko Aar Gappo
    Jukti Takko Aar Gappo is a 1974 Bengali film directed by Ritwik Ghatak....

    (Reason, Debate and a Story) (1974)

Screenwriter

  • Musafir
    Musafir (1957 film)
    Musafir is a 1957 Hindi movie. Written by Ritwik Ghatak and Hrishikesh Mukherjee the film is about a house and the lives of three families who live in it, so in essence it is three stories linked by the house. The movie is Hrishikesh's directorial debut. The film stars Dilip Kumar, Kishore Kumar,...

    (1957)
  • Madhumati
    Madhumati
    Madhumati is a 1958 Hindi film produced and directed by Bimal Roy, and written by Ritwik Ghatak and Rajinder Singh Bedi. The music was composed by Salil Choudhury with the lyrics by Shailendra. The film stars Dilip Kumar, Vyjayantimala, Pran, and Johnny Walker. It was one of the earliest films to...

    (1958)
  • Swaralipi (1960)
  • Kumari Mon (1962)
  • Deeper Nam Tiya Rong (1963)
  • Rajkanya
    Rajkanya
    Raj Kanya is a 1955 Hindi Bollywood film starring Nalini Jaywant with playback by Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle. Music by Chitragupt and lyrics by G S Nepali....

    (1965)

Actor

  • Tothapi (1950)
  • Chinnamul (1951)
  • Kumari Mon (1962)
  • Subarnarekha (1962)
  • Titas Ekti Nadir Nam (1973)
  • Jukti, Takko, aar Gappo (1974)

Short films and documentaries

  • The Life of the Adivasis (1955)
  • Places of Historic Interest in Bihar (1955)
  • Scissors (1962)
  • Fear (1965)
  • Rendezvous (1965)
  • Civil Defence (1965)
  • Scientists of Tomorrow (1967)
  • Yeh Kyon (Why/The Question) (1970)
  • Amar Lenin (My Lenin) (1970)
  • Puruliar Chhau (The Chhau Dance of Purulia) (1970)
  • Durbar Gati Padma (The Turbulent Padma) (1971)

Incomplete films and documentaries

  • Bedeni (1951)
  • Kato Ajanare (1959)
  • Bagolar Bangodarshan (1964–65)
  • Ronger Golam (1968)
  • Ramkinkar (1975)

Screenplays aborted before shooting

  • Okal Basonto (1957)
  • Amritokumbher Sandhane (1957)
  • Arjan Sardar (1958)
  • Bolidan (1963)
  • Aronyak (1963)
  • Shyam Se Neha Lagei (1964)
  • Sansar Simante (1968)
  • Padda Nadir Majhi
  • Notun Fasol
  • Raja
  • Sei Bishnupriya
  • Princess Kalaboti
  • Lojja

Theatre

  • Chandragupto (Dwijendralal Ray
    Dwijendralal Ray
    Dwijendralal Ray , also known as D. L. Ray , was a Bengali poet, playwright, and musician. He was known for his Hindu mythological and Nationalist historical plays and songs known as Dwijendrageeti or the Songs of Dwijendralal, which number over 500, create a separate sub-genre of Bengali Music...

    ), actor
  • Achalayoton (Tagore
    Rabindranath Tagore
    Rabindranath Tagore , sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European Nobel laureate by earning the 1913 Prize in Literature...

    ) (1943), director and actor
  • Kalo Sayor (Ghatak) (1947–48), actor and director
  • Kalonko (Bhattacharya
    Bijon Bhattacharya
    Bijon Bhattacharya was a prominent Indian theatre and film personality from Bengal.Bijon was born in 1917 at Faridpur in a Hindu Brahmin family, and was early a witness to the destitution and penury of the peasantry of that land...

    ) (1951), actor
  • Dolil (Ghatak) (1952), actor and director
  • Kato Dhane Kato Chaal (Ghatak)(1952)
  • Officer (Gogol) (1953), actor,
  • Ispaat (Ghatak) (1954–55), un-staged
  • Khorir Gondi
    The Caucasian Chalk Circle
    The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a play by the German modernist playwright Bertolt Brecht. An example of Brecht's epic theatre, the play is a parable about a peasant girl who rescues a baby and becomes a better mother than its natural parents....

    (Bertolt Brecht|Brecht)
  • Galileo Chorit
    Life of Galileo
    Life of Galileo , also known as Galileo, is a play by the twentieth-century German dramatist Bertolt Brecht. The first version of the play was written between 1937 and 1939; the second version was written between 1945–1947, in collaboration with Charles Laughton...

    (Brecht)
  • Jagoran (Atindra Mozumdar), actor
  • Jalonto (Ghatak)
  • Jala (Ghatak)
  • Dakghar (Tagore)
  • Dheu (Biru Mukhopadhay)
  • Dhenki Swarge geleo Dhan bhane (Ghatak/Panu Paul)
  • Natir Puja (Tagore)
  • Nabanna (Bhattacharya)
  • Nildarpan (Dinabandhu Mitra
    Dinabandhu Mitra
    Dinabandhu Mitra the Bengali dramatist, was born in 1830 at village Chouberia in Gopalnagar P.S., 24 Parganas and was the son of Kalachand Mitra. His given name was Gandharva Narayan, but he changed it to Dinabandhu Mitra.-Early life:Dinabandhu Mitra's education started at a village pathshala...

    ), actor
  • Nicher Mahal (Gorky
    Maxim Gorky
    Alexei Maximovich Peshkov , primarily known as Maxim Gorky , was a Russian and Soviet author, a founder of the Socialist Realism literary method and a political activist.-Early years:...

    ), un-staged
  • Netajike nie (Ghatak)
  • Poritran (Tagore)
  • Falguni (Tagore)
  • Bidyasagar (Banaphool
    Banaphool
    Banaphool is the pen name of the Bengali author, playwright and poet, Balāi Chānd Mukhopādhyāy .- Life:...

    )
  • Bisarjan (Tagore)
  • Vangabandor (Panu Paul), actor
  • Voter vet (Panu Paul), actor
  • Musanfiro ke lie (Gorky), actor
  • Macbeth
    Macbeth
    The Tragedy of Macbeth is a play by William Shakespeare about a regicide and its aftermath. It is Shakespeare's shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603 and 1607...

    (Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

    ), actor
  • Raja (Tagore)
  • Sanko (Ghatak), actor
  • Sei Meye (Ghatak), director
  • Strir Patro (Tagore)
  • Hojoborala (Sukumar Ray
    Sukumar Ray
    Sukumar Ray , , was a Bengali humorous poet, story writer and playwright who mainly wrote for children. As perhaps the most famous Indian practitioner of literary nonsense, he is often compared to Lewis Carroll...

    )

Books

  • Ritwik Ghataker Galpo (includes the short stories "Gaachti", "Shikha", "Rupkotha", "Chokh", "Comred", "Prem", "Maar", and "Raaja")
  • Galileo Charit (Bengali translation of Brecht
    Bertolt Brecht
    Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...

    's Life of Galileo)
  • Jala (play)
  • Dolil (play)
  • Meghe Dhaka Tara (screenplay)
  • Chalachitra, Manus ebong aro kichu
  • Cinema and I, Ritwik Memorial Trust, Kolkata
  • On Cultural Front
  • Rows and Rows of Fences: Ritwik Ghatak on Cinema, Seagall Books Pvt. Ltd, Kolkata
  • Ritwik Ghatak Stories, Translated from Bengali by Rani Ray, New Delhi, Shrishti Publishers and Distributors

Further reading

  • Ritwik: Surama Ghatak, Calcutta, Asha Prakasani
  • Ritwik and His Films: in two volumes, edited by Rajat Ray
  • Ritwik Kumar Ghatak: edited by Rajat Ray, Shristi Prakasan
  • Ritwikke Sesh Valobasa: Pratiti Devi, Bangladesh, Sahitya Prakas
  • Ritwiktantra: Sanjay Mukhopadhaya, Kolkata Ritwik Cine Society
  • Riwik Kumar Ghatak: (a monograph) Haimanti Banerjee, National Film Archive of India, Pune, 1985. ISBN 8120100018.

External links



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