He was a rare gem in the world of modern Indian cinema, and the fact that one will no longer be able to see more of his films is depressing. For, Rituparno Ghosh, 49, one of the most sensitive contemporary Bengali film makers, is no more. He passed away on Thursday morning of a massive cardiac arrest, just three months before he would have turned 50 on August 31.

Rituda, as he was popularly known, migrated from the world of advertising to cinema, bagging multiple National and international awards. He made a mark with his first film, Unishe April in 1994. After that, there was no stopping him. His range of work includes, Chitrangada, Dahan, Dosar, Asukh, Chokher Bali, Raincoat, Bariwali, Antarmahal, Noukadubi and Abohoman.

A champion of gay rights, of late Rituparno had turned a cross-dresser, and carried himself with élan, not caring two hoots about being jeered by the so-called ‘sexual mainstreamers’. He felt that the concept of unisex had been monopolised by women. “Women can wear men’s clothes. The problem arises when men wear women’s clothes. Whatever I wear has always been worn by men. Wearing things like earrings and necklaces has always been a part of our sartorial history and tradition,” he told a newspaper.

Rituparno’s films, which expressed a wide range of hitherto unexplored emotions, touched a chord with anyone with even an iota of sensitivity, especially women. He was a brave film-maker, who tackled subjects that were considered taboo and stood firmly by his beliefs, especially with regard to what he called ‘alternate sexuality’.

Rituparno smashed the perception that homosexuality is all about physical relationships. ….”There is much more to such relationships. Same-sex relationships, too, are extremely soulful, emotional and have the same pathos that any heterosexual relationship has,” he said in an interview in 2010, after his film Aar Ekti Premer Golpo, on the life of gay Jatra actor Chapal Bhaduri, got rave reviews. In the film, Rituparno played the role of a gay film-maker who is in a relationship with his married director.

The film-maker also hosted two television chat shows on 'Ebong Rituporno' and 'Ghosh and Co' and has written the script of the hit Bengali serial 'Gaaner Opare'’s initial episodes.

His last release was Chitrangada, a modern take on Rabindranath Tagore's story, which won the special jury award at the 60th National Film Awards.

Before he bid adieu to this world, Rituparno had moved on to another genre – a crime thriller, Satyanewshi. We eagerly await his last offering…

(This article was published on May 30, 2013)
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