Explore the remarkable history of 31st August , including the ascension of King Henry VI to the English throne in 1422 and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s iconic “The American Scholar” speech in 1837. Delve into the impactful life and career of visionary filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh on his birth anniversary.
Some fascinating events unfolded in the past, and as I delve into the history of 31st August I find one such incident with occurred in the year 1422. It was on this day when Henry VI become the King of England at the age of 9 months only. He went on to rule England for several years, but later was imprisoned in the tower of London where he died on the 21st of May 1471.
Moving on with the history of 31st August we come to the year 1837 when on this day Ralph Waldo Emerson gave his famous “The American Scholar” speech to Phi Beta Kappa Society at Harvard College, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
With this we come to the feature story from the history of 31st August. Today we remember Rituparno Ghosh on his birth anniversary.
Reviving Glory: Rituparno Ghosh and the Resurgence of Bengali Cinema
In an era where Tollywood, the Bengali film industry, was grappling with a slow decline, and the silver screen was marred by uninspired remakes of Hindi films, a creative genius emerged to breathe new life into the fading flamboyance of the past. This luminary was none other than Rituparno Ghosh, a visionary filmmaker whose work rekindled the passion for Bengali cinema, captivating hearts and minds, and illuminating the industry with fresh vigor.
Born into a world of creativity, Ghosh’s artistic genes could be traced back to his father, a documentary filmmaker and painter. After completing his education at South Point, he pursued a master’s degree in economics from Jadavpur University. His journey took an unexpected turn when he entered the world of advertising at Response India Advertising Agency, where he swiftly gained a reputation for his poignant and captivating one-liners in Bengali for ad campaigns. It wasn’t long before he ventured into the world of cinema, marking his directorial debut with “Hirer Angti.”
However, it was Ghosh’s second cinematic masterpiece, “Unishe April,” that thrust him into the limelight. What set him apart was his uncanny ability to craft realistic narratives from the tapestry of everyday life. He delved into the secret lives of the Bengali ‘bhodrolok,’ shedding light on their struggles and complexities. Ghosh’s movies primarily centered around the oppression of women within their homes and society, providing a refreshing departure from the conventional.
“Unishe April” explored the intricate relationship between a mother and daughter as it evolves over time. His subsequent film, “Dahan,” tackled the harrowing issue of sexual harassment faced by a woman at a metro station, prompting viewers to introspect their perceptions of life. The subsequent creations, “Utsab” and “Abohoman,” delved into emotionally abusive relationships, probing the darkest corners of human emotions.
Yet, it was Ghosh’s unflinching courage to confront taboos head-on that reshaped the landscape of Bengali cinema. He dared to portray forbidden relationships that society often turned a blind eye to. From exploring the complex bond of incestuous affection between first cousins in “Utsab,” to delving into a widowed woman’s unfulfilled desires in “Bariwali,” and even unraveling the romantic rivalry between mother and daughter for the same man in “Titli,” Ghosh’s films unleashed a wave of boldness and authenticity.
As his innovative approach to filmmaking gained momentum, comparisons to legends like Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, and Mrinal Sen began to circulate. However, even amidst accolades, Ghosh faced his share of criticism and mockery. His distinct style and mannerisms became fodder for comedians, yet Ghosh refused to be swayed. In an act of audacious resilience, he invited his critics and jesters to his show, “Abong Rituparno,” engaging in open dialogue that challenged conventions.
Ghosh’s impact extended beyond the screen. He recognized the need for Indian cinema to embrace gender fluidity, leading him to create groundbreaking movies like “Memories in March” and “Ar Akta Premer Golpo,” which explored homosexual relationships. These films marked a watershed moment, acknowledging aspects that had long remained shrouded in silence. The responses to his efforts were as diverse as his subject matter, but his unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries remained indomitable.
Over the course of his illustrious career, Ghosh crafted 24 films, a telefilm, and a TV series. His repertoire even included adaptations of Tagore’s literary gems like “Chokher Bali” and “Naukadubi.” He didn’t confine his genius to Bengali cinema alone, venturing into Hindi films with “Raincoat,” “Mumbai Cutting,” and “Sunglass.”
Ghosh’s storytelling was characterized by its simplicity, an approach that endeared him to the ‘madhyobitto’ or middle-class audience. This devoted following remained loyal, cherishing his films in the present and for generations to come. As we commemorate Rituparno Ghosh on his birth anniversary, the 31st of August, his legacy continues to shine brightly, a testament to his unparalleled contributions in resurrecting the glory of Bengali cinema and leading it into a new era of brilliance.
That’s all from the history of 31st August.
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A devoted foodie with keen interest in wild life, music, cinema and travel Somashis has evolved over time . Being an enthusiastic reader he has recently started making occasional contribution to write-ups.