cinema of ritvik ghatak

Ritwik Ghatak is a name in Indian cinema, which the coming generation will never forget. The films of Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen and the contribution of these three in the field of cinema is considered unforgettable. Now these three are no longer on this earth. Satyajit Ray, known as the ‘trilogy’ of parallel cinema, died in the year 1992, Ritwik Ghatak passed away in 1976 and the last link of the ‘trilogy’ i.e. filmmaker Mrinal Sen died in the year 2018. Among these three, Ritwik Ghatak died on 6 February 1976, when he was only 50 years old.

Ritwik Ghatak was born in Rajshahi near Dhaka.

Ritwik Ghatak was born on November 4, 1925 in Mianpada, Rajshahi city near Dhaka. There is a distance of five hours between Dhaka and Rajshahi city. Ghatak’s ancestral house is still there, in a dilapidated condition. After the partition of India in 1947, Ritwik Ghatak’s family came to India, hence the pain of partition and the time of partition and independence, especially in the middle of the sixties, can be clearly seen in Ghatak’s films. 2025 is also the birth centenary of Ritwik Ghatak.

Ritwik Ghatak’s father was a District Magistrate

Ritwik Ghatak’s father’s name was Sureshchandra Ghatak and mother’s name was Indubala Devi. The entire family was literary from the beginning. Father Sureshchandra Ghatak was a District Magistrate in Rajshahi. Not only was he a District Magistrate, he also used to write poetry and plays. Therefore, Sureshchandra Ghatak was also known as a litterateur in the entire area. Ritwik was the eleventh child of Ghatak’s father, he was also a keen reader – literary inclination was there in him from the beginning. Ritwik Ghatak’s early education also took place in Rajshahi.

Ritwik Ghatak’s elder brother Manish Ghatak was a professor of English. Apart from teaching in college, he also used to write. He also actively participated in social service activities. Manish Ghatak played an active role in the ‘Tebhaga Movement’ of North Bengal.

Very few people know that the famous Jnanpith Award winning writer Mahasweta Devi was the niece of filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak. Mahasweta Devi had inherited writing, because her father i.e. Ritwik Ghatak’s elder brother Manish Ghatak himself used to write good poems.

Calcutta Film Society and Ghatak’s interest in cinema

When Ritwik Ghatak’s family came to Calcutta in 1947 after the partition of the country, they also had to face the pain of being refugees. It was at this time that the Calcutta Film Society was formed. Ritwik Ghatak benefited a lot from its establishment. Good foreign films were seen. With this, Ritwik Ghatak’s ‘cinematic vision’ became clear. However, this Calcutta Film Society was jointly founded by cine-lovers like Satyajit Ray, Chidananda Dasgupta and Bansichandra Gupta.

Wrote his first play in 1948

Ritwik Ghatak was aware of literature and culture since childhood. In 1948, Ritwik Ghatak did BA from Berhampur Krishnanath College. During this period, Ghatak also wrote a play. The name of that Bengali play was ‘Kalo Sayar’ i.e. Black Lake (Dark Lake). After that, the second play was written by Mahasweta Devi’s husband Bijan Bhattacharya, in which Ritwik Ghatak acted. In the year 1948 itself, Ritwik Ghatak also got associated with IPTA i.e. Gana Natya Sangh. Then, he became a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI). In the year 1955, Ritwik Ghatak was expelled from the Communist Party.

Actually, Ritwik Ghatak believed in speaking openly from the beginning. Senior people of the Communist Party did not like all this. Ultimately Ritwik Ghatak had to suffer the consequences of being expelled from the party. But, he was not disappointed. And started doing creative work with interest. Some good friends like Bijan Bhattacharya were with Ritwik Ghatak, so during this period Ghatak wrote a lot and also acted in some plays.

Ritwik Ghatak was born on November 4, 1925 in Mianpada, Rajshahi city near Dhaka. There is a distance of five hours between Dhaka and Rajshahi city. Ghatak’s ancestral house is still there, in a dilapidated condition. After the partition of India in 1947, Ritwik Ghatak’s family came to India.

Interested in acting as well as translating English plays.

After being expelled from the party, Ritwik Ghatak became more interested in acting in drama and translating English plays. It is said that during this time, Ritwik Ghatak translated Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and also staged it. Apart from this, he also played ‘Dakghar’ written by Rabindranath Tagore. Ritwik Ghatak’s acting in the play ‘Neel Darpan’ written by Deenbandhu Mitra was highly appreciated at that time. Ritwik Ghatak also acted in the play ‘Kalank’ written by Bijan Bhattacharya.

Ritwik’s first acting in the Bengali film ‘Chhinnamul’ (1950)

Ritwik Ghatak acted for the first time in the Bengali film ‘Chhinnamul’ (Uprooted, 1950) directed by Nimai Ghosh. This is the first Indian movie, which tells the story of Partition (1947). This film shows how a group of farmers were forced to come to Calcutta from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). After hearing the discussion of this Bengali film, famous Russian director Vsevolod Pudovkin came to Calcutta to watch this film, saw the film and liked it so much that he took the prints of ‘Chhinnamul’ with him to Russia. Later this film was shown to the Russian public in 188 cinema halls of Russia. Gangapad Basu, Bijan Bhattacharya, Ritwik Ghatak and Shobha Sen (wife of Utpal Dutt) acted in this Bengali film ‘Chhinnamul’. The story of this 117-minute film was written by Swarnakamal Bhattacharya and directed by Nimai Ghosh.

His first film as a director was ‘Nagrik’ (1952/53)

Ritwik Ghatak’s first Bengali film as a director was ‘Nagrik’ (1952/53). The story, screenplay and direction of this film was done by Ritwik Ghatak. Photography was done by Ramanand Sengupta and it starred Satindra Bhattacharya, Geeta Som, Ketaki Devi, Shobha Sen, Anil Chattopadhyay, Prabha Devi, Kali Bandyopadhyay. Ramesh Joshi’s editing in this film is worth watching. This film tells the story of the struggles for survival of a loving couple. Ritwik Ghatak’s film ‘Nagrik’ was released on September 20, 1977 at New Empire Hall, Calcutta. This film was released 24 years after the death of Ritwik Ghatak. Ritwik Ghatak died in the year 1976.

‘Ajantrik’ (1958) was Ritwik Ghatak’s second film.

Ritwik Ghatak’s second feature film was ‘Ajantrik’ (Pathetic Fallacy). ‘Ajantrik’, based on the story of the same name by the famous Bengali writer Subodh Ghosh, is one of the famous films of Ritwik Ghatak. Kali Banerjee, Mr. Deepak, Kajal Gupta and Keshto Mukherjee acted in this film. This film is a comedy drama. This film of Ritwik Ghatak was shown as a special entry in the Venice Film Festival in the year 1959. In this film ‘Ajantrik’, there is a story of the struggles of a taxi driver Vimal and Vimal. This is considered a mesmerizing film of Ritwik Ghatak.

Directed a total of eight feature films

Ritwik Ghatak had directed a total of eight feature films in his short life. (1) Nagrik, 1952 (2) Ajantrik, 1958 (3) Bari Theke Pali, 1959 (4) Meghe Dhaka Tara, 1960 (5) Komal Gandhar, 1961 (6) Subarna Rekha, 1962 (7) Titash Ekti Nadeer Naam, 1973 (8) Jukti Takko R Gappo, 1974). Among these films, ‘Ajantrik’, ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ and ‘Titash Ekti Nadeer Naam’ are considered important films. Apart from these feature films, Ritwik Ghatak has also made nine documentary films. Some incomplete films are also left.

Also wrote the story of two Hindi films

Ritwik Ghatak was also associated with two Hindi films. One of these was Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s film ‘Musafir’ (1957) and the other was Vimal Roy’s film ‘Madhumati’ (1958). ‘Musafir’ was Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s first movie, starring Suchitra Sen, Dilip Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Nirupa Roy and Nazir Hussain. Rajendra Singh Bedi wrote the story of ‘Musafir’ and Ritwik Ghatak wrote the screenplay, while Vimal Roy’s film ‘Madhumati’ starred Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanti Mala, Pran and Johnny Walker. The story of this film was written by Ritwik Ghatak. ‘Madhumati’ also received the Best Feature Film award.

Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani and Subhash Ghai were also Ghatak’s disciples.

There are many names among the disciples of Ritwik Ghatak. When Ritwik Ghatak was the principal of Pune Film and Television Institute, Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani and Subhash Ghai were his disciples. This is from the sixties. During that time, Subhash Ghai also acted in the diploma film ‘Fear’. Malayalam filmmaker John Abraham was also a disciple of Ritwik Ghatak. Ritwik Ghatak also encouraged film directors like Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ketan Mehta, Girish Kasaravalli to make good films.

Have shot many films in Jharkhand also

Very few people know that filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak had also shot his films in Jharkhand. Among these, ‘Ajantrik’ (1958) and ‘Suvarna Rekha’ (1962) are prominent. Ritwik Ghatak had chosen Ranchi, Netarhat and Ranikhatanga village of Ratu for the shooting of these films. Luther Tigga, a resident of Ranchi, had also worked in ‘Ajantrik’. Apart from these feature films, Ritwik Ghatak has a documentary film ‘Uraon’ (1955), which he shot in Ranchi, Ramgarh and Netarhat. It is said that Ritwik Ghatak loved the nature of Jharkhand, its climate and its people.

Documentary on sculptor Ramkinkar Baij remained incomplete

Shortly before his death, Ritwik Ghatak had started a documentary film on sculptor Ramkinkar Baij. The name of this documentary was ‘Ramkinkar’ (1975). This 16-minute documentary has remained incomplete. Mohan Vishwas initially provided some financial help to Ritwik Ghatak, but later his work stopped due to some reason. Nirmal and Sunil Jana did some photography for this documentary.

Short film has also been made on Indira Gandhi

In the year 1972, Ritwik Ghatak had also started making a short film on Indira Gandhi, which remained incomplete. The financial backer of this film was someone Ram Das. AK Gurha and Mahendra Kumar were doing the cinematography of this film, but it could not be completed.

‘Amar Lenin’ (1970) is Ritwik’s famous documentary.

A famous documentary of Ritwik Ghatak is ‘Amar Lenin’ (1970). Arun Kumar has acted in this 20-minute documentary made under the banner of Sumans Films. This film was banned at that time. This film was then shown in Soviet Russia. Later the ban on it was lifted in our country. Both the script and direction of this documentary were by Ritwik Ghatak.

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