Rituparno Ghosh's MOST MEMORABLE Films
A lot of people say the late Rituparno Ghosh produced his best works in his earlier years, and I agree. Here, in no particular order of excellence, are some of his best films:
Unishe April (1994)
The landmark film, a very loose adaptation of Autum Sonata, that brought the middle-class, educated Bengali viewer back to movie theatres.
The tense, edgy saga of celebrated dancer Sarojini (Aparna Sen) and her troubled daughter Aditi (Debasree Ray) fetched Ghosh his first National Award for Best Feature Film.
Debasree won for Best Actress.
Image: Debasree Roy and Prasenjit Chatterjee in Unishe April
This 1997 film is a searing indictment of a callous society that stands by and watches a woman being molested.
What’s worse, the victim’s lone supporter becomes a victim herself.
The gritty dialogue and taut scripting fetched Rituparno yet another National Award, for Best Screenplay this time, while Rituparna Sengupta and Indrani Haldar shared the Best Actress award.
Image: Movie poster of Dahan
Perhaps the most poignant of all Rituparno films, Bariwali is the story of the excruciatingly lonely, sheltered, middle-aged Banalata (Kirron Kher) and her attraction for the charming, ‘manly’ filmmaker Dipankar (Chiranjeet) that ends in heartbreak and tears, and the audience feels every bit of it.
Kher and co-star Sudipta Chakraborty pulled off astonishingly brilliant performances, deservedly winning them National Awards.
Image: Movie poster of Bariwali
Another film, another National Award for Best Director.
This sensitive, slow-paced look at a cultured Bengali family get-together to celebrate Durga Puja is remarkable for Rituparno’s eye for detail, and his confident, assured handling of the various relationships within the film.
He also brought out understated, yet magnificent, performances from his diverse cast.
Image: Movie poster of Utsab
The film that made everyone sit up and take note of Konkona Sen Sharma, playing a teenager with a huge crush on film star Rohit Roy (Mithun Chakraborty), who turns out to be linked to her in a way she could never have imagined.
Titli also stars Konkona’s mother Aparna Sen, and their on-screen comfort level is a big factor behind the film’s excellence.
The other, of course, are the beautiful North Bengal locales, and the haunting track, Megh Peon Er Bag Er Bhetor, with lyrics by the director himself.
Image: Movie poster of Titli
Rituparno’s perceptive adaptation of O Henry’s immortal short story Gift of the Magi drew appreciation from all quarters, not least because of the performances by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, and Annu Kapoor.
Most of the film’s action is confined to one room, but that counts for nothing as the viewer is overwhelmed by Shubha Mudgal’s unforgettable renditions of Mathura Nagarpati and Piya Tora Kaisa Abhimaan, the latter accompanied by Gulzar’s shiver-inducing recitation.
Image: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Ajay Devgn in Raincoat