Cinema, gender and art
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An iconic filmmaker and inheritor of the legendary Satyajit Ray’s legacy, Rituparno Ghosh was one of the finest auteurs to emerge out of contemporary Bengal. His films, though rooted firmly in middle-class values, desires and aspirations, are highly critical of hetero-patriarchal power structures. From the very outset, Ghosh displayed a strong feminist sensibility which later evolved into radical queer politics.
This volume analyses his films, his craft, his stardom and his contribution to sexual identity politics. In this first scholarly study undertaken on Rituparno Ghosh, the essays discuss the cultural import of his work within the dynamics of a rapidly evolving film industry in Bengal and more largely the cinematic landscape of India. The anthology also contains a conversation section (interviews with the filmmaker and with industry cast and crew) drawing a critical and personal portrait of this remarkable filmmaker.
Table of Contents
Introduction. Part I 1. Invoking Love, Death and an Elsewhere: Searching the auteur in Rituparno Ghosh’s Abohoman Sangeeta Datta 2. Rituparno Ghosh and the Pursuit of Freedom Wimal Dissanayake 3. Locating Rituparno Ghosh in Tollywood Anugyan Nag 4. ‘Just Like a Film Star!’ The Style of Being Rituparno Ghosh Sumit Dey 5. The Endangered City in Rituparno Ghosh’s Early Cinema of Confinement Sayandeb Chowdhury 6. Borrowing, Becoming, and the Question of the Self in Shob Choritro Kalponik Srimati Mukherjee 7. En-gendering the detective: Of love, longing and feminine follies Madhuja Mukherjee 8. Closeted Desires and Open Secrets: Raincoat and Noukadubi Richard Allen 9. Beyond the Binary: (Trans)gender Narratives and Class Distinction in Rituparno Ghosh’s later films Aniruddha Dutta 10. Kissed on One Cheek and Slapped on the Other: Rituparno Ghosh’s Chitrangada as an Allegory of Oppositional Reading Daisy Hasan 11. A Room of Hir Own: The Queer Aesthetics of Rituparno Ghosh Kaustav Bakshi and Parjanya Sen PART II 12. Rituparno Ghosh in conversation with Shohini Ghosh 13. Rituparno Ghosh in conversation with Kaustav Bakshi 14. Cast and Crew Speak with Sangeeta Datta and Rohit K Dasgupta
Sangeeta Datta is an independent writer, film-maker and cultural commentator, based in London.
Kaustav Bakshi is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jadavpur University, India.
Rohit K. Dasgupta is Lecturer, Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton, UK.
‘This book comprises the first major study of Rituparno’s oeuvre, examining the art of his filmmaking, as well his bold and unprecedented engagement with diverse forms of Indian sexuality.’ — Rachel Dwyer, Professor of Indian Cultures and Cinema, SOAS, University of London.
‘The distinctive voice of Rituparno Ghosh comes alive again in this rich collection of essays and interviews. A very fitting tribute.’ — Rosie Thomas, Director of the India Media Centre, University of Westminster
‘Aspects of Rituparno Ghosh's erudite and complex life are captured with care and sensitivity in this book. The fine essays ranging from across the arts and humanities discipline have been brought together and shaped with skill and scholarly flair by the editors. This is a must-read for all interested in the legacy and impact of Ghosh’s work.’ — Rajinder Dudrah, Senior Lecturer in Screen Studies, University of Manchester
With the haze of lurid public gossip regarding his sexuality, his outlandish dressing style and his alleged attempts at hormonal therapy, it is difficult to reclaim Ghosh, the artist, and be truly objective about his work. Whatever might have been his limitations, his films still remain a mirror to our secret hypocrisies, our acquiescence in perpetuating skewed power structures and our willingness to take part in insidious forms of violence beneath the cover of bhadralok gentility. There is no other book that brings out these themes with greater theoretical clarity and empirical depth than this one. ‘Rituda’, had he been alive, would have been proud.
Ratnabir Guba - The Telegraph India
"It will be a useful reference for scholars of gender studies, more specifically queer studies and cinema, and especially those working on Bengali cinema."
Devapriya Sanyal, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India - South Asian History and Culture