RIP Rituparno Ghosh!

By HT

Mumbai, May 31 -- The first movie he made never got a theatrical release. The film, called Hirer Angti (The Diamond Ring; 1992), was subsequently praised once it aired on television. Two years later, with Unishe April, Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh shot to stardom; the film won two important National Awards - Best Film and Best Actress for Debashree Roy.

His next, Dahan (1998), won Rituparna Sengupta the National Award for Best Actress, as did the one after that, Bariwali (The Lady of the House; 2000), for Kirron Kher. Simplistically seen, it began to seem that the path to a National Award lay through a Rituparno film.

The man wrote and directed 20 movies in just two decades, picking up several Indian and international awards. He initiated the new wave of intellectual Bengali cinema, and had leading artistes, even Bollywood stars, vying to work with him. So he made The Last Lear (2007) with Amitabh Bachchan, Chokher Bali (2003) with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Ajay Devgn, and Shob Charitro Kalponik (2005) with Bipasha Basu, among others.

Known to be a gentleman among his peers, he did, at times, reveal a tempestuous side to him. After a TV anchor mocked him for his effeminate mannerisms, he called for a televised interview, at the end of which he left the man embarrassed and apologetic.

The 49-year-old filmmaker was busy right till the end. Two days before his demise (on May 30), he tweeted about finishing the shoot of Satyanweshi, starring director Sujoy Ghosh as his lead actor: "Wrapped up the shoot of Satyanewshi, a crime thriller in the molten glow of the pensive falling afternoon (sic)". Perhaps, one last National Award will still get added to the remarkable but tragically short career.

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