Ritwik Ghatak (born 1925), avantgarde film-maker, was associated with many of the key stage and film productions of the left-wing Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA). His own first effort, Nagarik (1951, released 1977), while of the genre of agit-prop social realism, exhibits a concern with shot scale, disjointed cutting and an alertness to the powers of the sound-track, that are explored in subsequent work. His stint with the Mumbai film industry in the mid-1950s suggests his willingness to work with popular entertainment conventions: his creative engagement with melodramatic motifs and expressive techniques can be seen in Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960) and Subarnarekha (1962, released 1965). These two films, with Komal Gandhar (1961), constitute his meditations on the partition of Bengal and display his capacity to create a cinematic space that incorporates mythic, tribal and modern motifs in an epic rendering of the contemporary. Ghatak became vice principal of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, where he exercised a major influence on early alumni: Kumar Shahani, Mani Kaul and John Abraham. Ritwik Ghatak died in 1976.
Author: House of World Cultures
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New Perspectives from India
(19 September 03 - 16 November 03)