RITUPARNO… The name flows on the tongue, as a river is meant to be. It was hard to believe when MJ told me this morning that the gifted filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, whose contribution to queer cinema along with world cinema has been marvellous, passed away this morning May 30th in Kolkata because of cardiac arrest.
It’s an irreplaceable loss to this world, & to the queer community. I’m sure a lot of people feel that he was an important part of Indian Cinema, but I think he was also precious for World Cinema. He was a man who made some of the best alternative & queer films that this world has ever seen.
I first became acquainted with Rituparno when I watched the first day last show of Raincoat. The intense & real characters deepened with Shuba Mudgal’s songs in the background, making it a soul stirring experience for me. And I knew he was brilliant.
He got a National award for the Bengali film Chitrangada, which is about a homosexual choreographer struggling with his gender identity. But what left me speechless was his Aarekti Premer Galpo (Just Another Love Story). Watching that movie has been the most thrilling experience of queerness in my life.
My love for his work was reawakened earlier this year when MJ gifted me his “Memories in March”. The beautiful story of a woman coming to terms with her dead son’s homosexuality & developing a bond with his boyfriend. Rituparno himself acted in this film, & he was flawless.
You see such movies and you know that he is special. His works have made people think anew about homosexuality. They haven’t been about sex, but the heart & the mind.
Rituparno’s reputation among his peers was ironclad. He was not only sensitive, liberal, fluid, and well respected, but mysterious. He loved wearing kajal in his eyes. He could adorn jewellery over a kurta, & attend a social do better than anyone I know. He was a true hero. He was out there. He accepted his femininity with grace. He considered himself privileged because of his gender fluidity; the fact that he was in between. He didn’t associate himself with any gender. I think he left us all with a voice!
He shall remain in our memories forever; his masterpieces a reminder of what we had or what we lost.