Five Great Film Directors From Bengal

1:00 am 5 Jan, 2014

For the people of Calcutta, life would be a total waste if you have not seen or cannot appreciate any good films and theatre. Calcutta has been a seat of culture and art since its very inception, more so because it was the seat of the British raj due to which the urban people of the city had an access to foreign films and education much before the rest of the country. From that time till the contemporary age, Bengal has produced great film directorial talents who not only became famous in India but started to be counted among the top directors worldwide. Let’s have a look at some of those talents—

5. Aparna Sen

Aparna Sen started her career in films as an actress in Ray’s Teen Kanya. After working with great directors like Ray and Mrinal Sen, Aparna went on to direct her own film in 1981, 36, Chowringhee Place, which won worldwide accolades and positive reviews from the critics.

It was in her directorial debut only that she won the National Award for the best director and also the Grand Prix at Manila International Film Festival. Her other brilliant on-screen critically acclaimed films are Paroma, Unishe April, Sati, Mr. and Mrs. Iyer among others.

Five Great Film Directors From Bengal

4. Rituparna Ghosh

A self-professed admirer of Satyajit Ray, Rituparna too started his career in the advertising sector. It was in 1992 that the legend made his debut with Hirer Angti, and since then, till his death in 2013, Ghosh made about 20 films and acted in around 4 films. In his films, Ghosh liked to explore the psyche of the characters at some moments of crisis. In fact, he was perhaps of the very few directors who spoke openly in his films about homosexuality—the issues faced by the homosexuals, their anxiety and their identity hassles.

If you are yet to witness any film by the great filmmaker, our suggestion would be to watch Ar Ekti Premer Golpo (although he’s the actor in this film, it is said that the film has been ghost-directed by him) and Shob Choritro Kalponik, wherein a lady understands and falls in love with his husband after his death. It’s definitely one of the timeless classics!

Five Great Film Directors From Bengal

3. Mrinal Sen

He’s a director who excelled not only in the Bengali film arena but in “Bollywood” as well. He’s considered as one of the emissaries of the Indian New Wave Cinema. Although a contemporary of Ray, his films mainly revolved around the Marxist paradigm and the Naxalites. He was a master in portraying vividly the middle class society, and instead of romantically upholding the society, he would criticize it as well—after all, it is people who make a society, and people are never black or white totally.

Mrinal Sen has won innumerable accolades and awards world-wide which includes the Golden Hugo Award at Chicago International Film Festival and the Jury Prize at Cannes Film Festival—for Khandahar and Kharij respectively.

Five Great Film Directors From Bengal

2. Satyajit Ray

Perhaps one of the biggest names in the film fraternity, Ray was regarded as one of the foremost directors who welcomed the Indian New Wave to the Indian screen. However, till his death, he was against the idea of terming his own films as “parallel” ones. In his films, he has portrayed the adversities faced by people of all classes—and of women in general.

He also made two Hindi films (one short and one full length) in his lifetime—Sadgati and Shatranj Ke Khiladi. However, if you ask us about any suggestion regarding the Ray-films to be watched—we would be in real difficulty. So, stop choosing, and start watching!

Five Great Film Directors From Bengal

1. Ritwik Ghatak

If Satyajit Ray was drawn to the world of cinema by an utmost passion and love for films, Ritwik Ghatak was drawn towards them for a specific propaganda to reach out to as many people as possible to serve his Marxist political purposes. Once, he professed that he’s into film making because that’s the best way to reach to maximum number of people; if there are any other medium better than films, he would switch over before thinking twice.

Well, no matter what his intentions were behind film making, his films are a treat to the real film lovers and we’re definitely happy with that. Among all his films, our suggestion is Jukti Takko Ar Golpo.

Five Great Film Directors From Bengal

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