The ushering of the New Wave Indian Cinema was a pan Indian joint effort in which, Bengal had a major role to play. And, among all the dignitaries who made it possible in India, Ritwik Ghatak
is the foremost. This maverick director and also a one-time Principal of FTII, Pune, Ritwik Ghatakâs foray into films was triggered more by his political outlook than his artistic aesthetics, and it is perhaps due to this reason that he wasnât much appreciated in during his lifetime. It was only after his death that people around the world began watching and conducting researches on his films and gave him the accolades he deserved and craved for in his lifetime. Letâs have a look at 8 of his full-length complete films as a directorâ
Released in 1958, Ajantrik
or âThe Pathetic Fallacyâ is Indiaâs first sci-fi films that dealt with things coming into life! It is the story of Bimal, a poor taxi driver, and his old, âlivelyâ car, Jagaddal and their undying love through the odds. The film had received a special screening at the famous Venice Film Festival, and despite failing to have any subtitle, won much accolades and appraisal for the same! It is one of those comedy films that is surely going to tickle many grey cells and make you burst with laughter and mirth.
Translated as âThe Citizenâ, Nagarik
was the first full-length work by Ritwik Ghatak and was completed by 1952, but due to some problems, its release was postponed by as long as 24 yearsâit was only after Ghatakâs death that the film was screened. Had it not been postponed then it wouldâve been the first instance of a Bengali art-house film; and according to Ray, the film would have even surpassed Pather Pachali
in terms of cinematic brilliance. Also Read:Â 10 Critically Acclaimed Movies Of Satyajit Ray
6. Bari Theke Paliye
Also known as âRunawayâ, Bari Theke Paliye
is the story of a naughty kid who runs away from his village to find solace in Calcuttaâhis El dorado. Personally, Ritwik Ghatak hated life in Calcutta, Calcutta was to him nothing more than a claustrophobic hell-hole and he never missed an opportunity to showcase this aspect of the land; and, a glimpse of this we see in this film tooâand the way, the shattering of the childâs dream is evoked and showed is a work of exceptional brilliance!
5. Titash Ekti Nadir Naam
At a time when no West Bengali producer was showing any confidence in this wayward director, a Bangladeshi producer did, and what came out is yet another magnificent work by GhatakâTitash Ekti Nadir Naam
. The film delves into the lives of the fishermen of Bengal, specifically those near the bank of the river Titash, in Bangladesh, and is one of the earliest manifestations of hyperlink cinemaâpre-dating Nashville
by Robert Altman.
Last of the Partition Trilogy of Ghatak, Subarnarekha
charts the story of a refugee from the erstwhile East Bengal, and his life with his little sister and another refugee low-caste boy whom he had provided shelter to. Subarnarekha featured at number #11 of greatest films ever made by the Asian film journal, Cinemaya.
3. Komal Gandhar
Translated as the musical notation E-flat
, Komal Gandhar
, through the troubled love-story of the protagonists, sketches out the major rift that had segregated the IPTA (Indian Peopleâs Theatre Association) that Ghatak was once an active member of. Itâs a partly auto-biographical film and is indeed one of his best! It is the second film in the Partition Trilogy.
2. Meghe Dhaka Tara
The Cloud-Capped Star or Meghe Dhaka Tara
is recognized as one of the best films ever made across the globe. It is the first of the Partition Trilogy of Ghatak, and etches out a poignant story of Nita, a member of a refugee but genteel Bengali family, and her virtual suicide for the welfare of her family. Itâs a must-watch film if you havenât got an opportunity yet to watch it!
1. Jukti, Takko aar Gappo
It is an auto-biographical film by Ghatak in which he himself acted. It is said that all the dilemmas that troubled him his entire life, both in personal and professional spheres, get accumulated and problematized in this film. A work of extraordinary brilliance, Jukti Takko ar Gappo
is listed in innumerable lists across the globe as one of the major films you must see before your deathâand we heartily nod to that! Also Read:Â 5 Bengali Movies That Are Worth Watching With Subtitles