Bird Of Dusk Movie Review: A skillfully and affectionately realized account of the life of Rituparno Ghosh

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BIRD OF DUSK Movie Review is out. The documentary by Sangeeta Datta on the extraordinary life of the remarkably influential filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh who won 12 National awards and other honors for movies like UNISHE APRIL, SHUBHO MAHURAT, CHOKHER BALI, RAINCOAT, THE LAST LEAR, CHITRANGADA etc and colorful LGBT icon. Let’s find out how informative and essential the documentary is on Rituparno Gosh – the filmmaker, the icon.

Origin of the title

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Named after a painting by principal artist and creator of the Indian Society of Oriental Art – Abanindranath Tagore, BIRD OF DUSK is a 96 minute documentary on the life of Rituparno Gosh told through his personal memoirs (First Person), his interviews and conversations giving an insight of the man who brought back Bengali audience to cinema halls and perhaps is the most influential filmmaker in Bengal after Satyajit Ray/ Ritwik Ghatak/Mrinal Sen.

Major Highlights

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The documentary by Sangeeta Datta follows a young transgender actor Ranjan Bose as he researches the work of Rituparno Gosh. The documentary shows Ranjan Bose visiting the place where Rituparno lived and worked, smartly intercepted by readings of First Person by legends like Soumitra Chatterjee, and the filmmaker himself. Open hearted chats with renowned actors like Sharmila Tagore, Aparna Sen, Prosenjit Chatterjee, Nandita Das and Arjun Rampal and Rituparno’s colleagues in filmmaking like cinematographer Aveek Mukhopadhyay, editor Arghyakamal Mitra and music composer Debojyoti Mishra, that underlines the illustrated filmmaking career of Rituparno and his personal life.

Importance of Sangeeta Datta’s documentary on Rituparno Gosh BIRD OF DUSK today and tomorrow?

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Sangeeta Datta friend and colleague of Rituparno Gosh, in BIRD OF DUSK explores the life of Rituparno Gosh an ardent Satyajit Ray fan, a graduate in economics who went into advertising, then started making movies at a time when Bengali cinema was praying to get back the love of its audience. He began with the children’s film, HIRER ANGTI (THE DIAMOND RING), which remained unreleased, that nearly threatened his filmmaking career. However, UNISHE APRIL – the powerfully sentimental movie that explored a rare mother daughter bond starring Aparna Sen, Debashree Roy and Prosenjit Chatterjee, made heads turn in favour of Bengali cinema. UNISHE APRIL won national honours and from there Rituparno never looked back.

He rejuvenated the urban Bengali cine audience with his unique ability to tell stories with Indian ethos that penetrated deep within and created strong female characters played by actress like Sharmila Tagore, Aparna Sen, Nandita Das, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (CHOKHER BALI, RAINCOAT). Legendary male actors from Bengali cinema like Soumitra Chatterjee, Prosenjit Chatterjee and Bollywood icons like Amitabh Bachchan (THE LAST LEAR), Ajay Devgn (RAIN COAT) and Arjun Rampal (THE LAST LEAR) where part of his unique endeavors onscreen.

A filmmaker who wasn’t ashamed of his belief/vision and his sexuality. Rituparno remained one of the rare open gay figures in Indian cinema. His flamboyance became a style statement. A man, who was ahead of his contemporaries, had a unique arc of infusing sentiments in his audience heart and mind, a progressive filmmaker who respected Indian roots.

Sangeeta Datta compellingly takes us through the journey through extensive film clips and behind-the-scenes footage. It ends with a melancholy that says how filmmaker Rituparno Gosh who won the award as the best actor as a transgender filmmaker in Kaushik Ganguly’s AREKTI PREMER GOLPO (2011) gradually allowed his sexuality and fight for equal rights for LGBT community took over the filmmaker who unfortunately had to halt his art due to a heart attack in 2013. But his cinema has left a lasting impact and material for others to follow.

Special moments

Watch the part when Nandita Das expresses her reaction on finding that Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has been chosen for CHOKHER BALI instead of her. Arjun Rampal’s memorable encounter with Amitabh Bachchan and Rituparno Ghosh giving interview and on his film shoots.

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