Bi (Eyed, Colored, Barbed) Ritwik Ghatak: Bordering the Bengali Cinema


India’s moment of liberation from country was additionally an instant of rupture. Partition didn’t mean quite constant factor for geographical area and geographic area – the 2 provinces that got divided on the borders of Bharat – however there was one facet that was common to both: most standard voters found it troublesome to simply accept the actual fact of partition and their lives modified on the far side recognition once they became refugees.

And yet, as so much as geographic area was involved, Partition hardly had any immediate thematic impact on film or literature. the primary Bengali novel to affect partition came out solely in 1955 – Narayan Sanyal’s Bakultala P.L.Camp. however it absolutely was highlighted on celluloid abundant earlier, within the 1950 classic, Chinnamul (The Uprooted), by Nemai Ghosh. This landmark film, that ushered in Bengali medium realism, relates the story of a bunch of farmers from East geographic region} WHO are forced to migrate to Calcutta owing to Partition. Ghosh used actual refugees as characters and extras within the film, however there have been some seasoned theatre actors within the solid similarly. one in all them was Ritwik Ghatak – WHO would presently flip director himself and build the partition theme his own.

Ghatak’s films area unit one in all the foremost powerful creative articulations of the trauma of displacement once the Partition. The cultural unity of the 2 Bengals was a writing of religion with him. He ne’er accepted the Partition and it became a frenzied theme with him.
In a medium career that spanned over twenty five years till his death in 1976 at the age of fifty, Ghatak left behind him seven feature films, ten documentaries and some of unfinished fragments. however he’s remembered principally for his feature films. Recognition came his approach terribly late, as he had the misfortune of being for the most part unheeded by the Bengali film public in his own period of time. This was significantly unfortunate; as Ghatak was one in all the foremost innovative of Indian filmmakers, developing Associate in Nursing epic vogue that unambiguously combined realism, story and comedy in his films.

Before he came to films, however, Ghatak had been committed the Indian People’s Theatre Association, the cultural wing of the party of Bharat, which, since 1943, diode a extremely artistic movement of politically engaged art and literature, delivery into its fold the foremost artists of the time. IPTA had a profound influence on Ghatak. faithful its credentials, he powerfully believed within the social commitment of the artist; thus, even once he left theatre for cinema, he forever created films for a social cause.

Cinema, to him, was a variety of protest; and over the other creator of his time, he used this medium to spotlight the most important up to date issue in Bharat – the Partition and its aftermath. As he once said: “Cinema, to me, may be a means that of expressing my anger at the sorrows and sufferings of my folks. Being a geographic areai from East Bengal, I even have seen much miseries inflicted on my folks within the name of independence – that is faux and a sham. I even have reacted violently to the present – and that i have tried to portray completely different aspects of this in my films.”

Ghatak was, however, antipathetic to the term “refugee problem”. In one in all his interviews, he said, “I have tackled the expatriate downside, as you have got used the term, not as a ‘refugee’ downside. To American state it absolutely was the division of a culture and that i was shocked”. This shock would offer birth to a triplet on the Partition – Meghe Dhaka Tara (The Cloud-capped Star), 1960; Komal Gandhar (E Flat), 1961; and Subarnarekha (The Golden Thread), 1962. In them, he highlighted the insecurity and anxiety engendered by the status of the refugees of Bengal; tried to convey however Partition affected at the roots of Bengali culture; and wanted to precise the yearning and craving that a lot of Bengalis felt for his or her pre-Partition approach of life.

‘Meghe DhakaTara’.
Meghe Dhaka Tara, supported Shaktipada Rajguru’s Bengali novel of constant name, is one in all Ghatak’s known films on this theme. It additionally has the excellence of being the sole film by him that had been well received by the audience on its unleash. The narrative centers spherical Nita (Supriya Chowdhury), a expatriate during a colony in Calcutta, WHO struggles to keep up her impoverished family – initially, giving non-public tuitions to high school children; so, because the monetary state of affairs worsens reception, by operating regular in Associate in Nursing workplace, jilting on her own graduate studies. She is that the exploited female offspring, taken-for-granted sister, and betrayed lover – and finishes up being simply a supply of financial gain for the family. She is that the victim not simply of the Partition, however of familial pressures, and her life ends tragically fighting T.B. – tho’ not before she cries out her want to measure to her brother (Anil Chatterjee) during a hill sanatorium and admitting that she had wronged in acceptive injustice, that she ought to have protested for her rights.
Komal Gandhar revolves around the progressive theatre movement in geographic area within the early Fifties, set against the recollections of Partition. The protagonists, Bhrigu and Anasuya (Supriya Chaudhuri and Abanish Banerjee), belong to 2 rival theatre groups; however they are available shut owing to their shared passion for the theatre and their shared craving for the homes they’d to go away behind in East geographic area. This film was one in all Ghatak’s own favourites owing to the challenge of operative at completely different levels: in it, he role player at the same time on the divided heart of Anasuya (who is torn between Bhrigu and Samar, the person she was betrothed to years agone, currently living in France), the divided leadership of the theatre movement, and also the pain of divided geographic area. however his audience wasn’t ready for such a fancy film and rejected it out of hand.


Subarnarekha, once again, is concerning refugees from East geographic area and centres around a brother and sister try (played by Abhi Bhattacharya and Madhabi Mukherjee). In search of a more robust living and a secured future for his sister, Seeta, Ishwar (who is a lot of of a father than a brother to the small girl), leaves their expatriate colony in Calcutta Associate in Nursingd takes up employment in an foundry within the remote, rocky district of Chhatimpur, in near province. however his sister ironically faces constant grinding impoverishment that he needed her to avoid once she elopes with and marries a hard up author, Abhiram (Satindra Bhattacharya), her childhood fellow and a low-caste boy whom Ishwar had adopted whereas exploit Calcutta.
Brother and sister meet once more in exceptional circumstances: she is that the prostitute he involves once an evening of mad abandon together with his friend in Calcutta; and he’s her initial shopper, once Abhiram’s overtime in Associate in Nursing accident leaves her with no different possibility however to show to the present trade. Ishwar is desolate by the encounter and Seeta kills herself, watched by her son. At the tip of the film, Associate in Nursing aged Ishwar leads Seeta’s kid to the secure ‘new house’ in Chhatimpur by the watercourse, that forms the air throughout the film.

Nita, Sita, and Anasuya, the 3 heroines of Ghatak’s Partition triplet, area unit flesh and blood ladies of his times, however Ghatak provides their up to date tales of suffering a unaltered attractiveness by giving them a mythic dimension. In their own distinctive ways that, they represent the travails of Durga, mythical being and Sakuntala severally – parallels that has been bright analysed byAshish Rajadhyaksha in his book, Ritwik Ghatak: A come to the Epic (1982).

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