Remembering Ritwik Kumar Ghatak

04 Nov 2017  Sat

Ritwik Kumar Ghatak was a Bengali filmmaker and scriptwriter. He is regarded as one of the greatest figures of Indian Cinema. He was born in Dhaka on November 4, 1925, in Bengal Presidency during British Raj.

Ghatak came from a generation that has witnessed the partition of Bengal during Indian Independence in 1947 and the independence of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. The horrors of these bloody passages of history haunted Ghatak's cinema.

Like millions of others, Ghatak too was forced to move to West Bengal in the 1940s. The trauma of this displacement never left him completely. The sorrow of Partition and exile occurred as recurrent motifs in his films. He was also immersed in Indian culture and theatre along with the cult of the ‘Mother figure’. These factors, in particular, were other significant markers of his movies.

Ghatak would poetically describe his beloved East Bengal where he spent his childhood “My days were spent on the banks of the Padma — the days of an unruly and wild child. The people on the passenger boats looked like dwellers of some distant plane. In the drizzling rain, a joyful tune would float in the village air, pulling at one’s heart-strings with the sudden gusts of wind.”

Ritwik Kumar Ghatak started his creative career as a poet and a fiction writer. Then he began writing for the theatre and was involved with Gananatya Sangha and IPTA. Later on, he moved to film direction. He also wrote more than 50 essays on films. Satyajit Ray wrote that these essays "covered every possible aspect of cinema".

In 1948, Ghatak wrote the first play Kalo sayar (The Dark Lake) and participated in a revival of landmark play 'Nabanna(1950)'.He entered film industry with Nemai Gosh's Chinnamul(1950) as an actor & assistant director. His first complete film is Nagarik(1952).He has directed eight full-length films.

Ghatak moved briefly to Pune in 1966, where he taught at Film & Television Institute of India (FTII).He died on 6th Feb 1976. Ritwik Ghatak's cinema cannot be challenged in the Indian film history.

Ghatak received many awards in his career, including National Film Awards, Rajat Kamal Award, Best Director's Award from Bangladesh Cine Journalist's Association and The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri for Arts in 1970.

The Bengali Director Ritwik Ghatak got limited recognition in his lifetime but was hailed as one of the great filmmakers after his death.

To remember this great Film Director, India Post has issued the above shown commemorative postage stamp in 2007.

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