Braving rains, thousands of cine lovers thronged the state-run cultural complex 'Nandan' here to bid a tearful farewell to maverick film maker Rituparno Ghosh who died on Thursday morning battling pancreatitis. People waited patiently as the queue comprising mourners of all ages, a sizable number of them women, stretched about a kilometre.
Songs on death and prayers like Aguner Poroshmoni by
Rabindranath Tagore were played to pay respects to Mr Ghosh.
Policemen had a tough time managing the crowd which had a
sizeable number of LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
Transgender), including members of Sapho for Equality, who
turned up to pay their respects to the film director who had
dealt with the issues of alternative sexuality and never hid
his sexual preference.
Mr Ghosh's colleagues and friends from the Tollywood
fraternity - directors, actors, producers, singers, lyricists,
poets and musicians - stood near the body as people offered
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was among
those who offered wreaths. She was accompanied by her
ministerial colleagues Arup Biswas, Boby Hakim and Bratyo
Basu, a theatre personality himself, who broke down.
Leader of Opposition in West Bengal Assembly Surjya Kanta
Mishra and WBPCC chief Pradip Bhattacharya also laid wreaths
and paid their homage to the departed soul.
"Mr Ghosh's untimely demise has created a void in the film
industry. We mourn his death," Mishra said.
Acclaimed film maker Goutam Ghosh said, "I couldn't
believe my ears when I was told this morning that Ritu (as he
was known to the film fraternity) is no more. He cannot go
this way...I can't yet believe he is no more around."
"He is one person who had shown more sensitivity towards
our rights, our anguish and pains. He accorded respect to our
identity as humans. He is one who taught us that there is
nothing to hide regarding our sexuality," Anandi, a member of
LGBT community, said breaking down.
Tollywood superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee, who was cast by
Ghosh in Chokher Bali, Shob Choritro Kalponik, Dosor and
Utsab, was too overwhelmed to speak when approached.
"Please spare me today," he pleaded as he accompanied the
hearse on its last journey.
Film maker Raj Chakroborty, one of the most successful
current middle-of-the road film makers, said, "Rituda had an
abiding interest in our genres of film making."
Ghosh's long-time associate music director Debajyoti
Mishra said, "His 'Chitrangada' will one day be accorded its
due place in history. The national award vindicates that."
Recalling how Ghosh had taken months to research on
Tagore before embarking on his docu-feature, Mishra said, "He
was a voracious reader and a hard working researcher...He used
to go through books and journals, which dated back to
"Rituda's death is a real shocker. He was an inspiration
for young actors and film makers like us. I am numbed with
shock and disbelief," Kahani actor Parambrata Chatterjee
Sujoy Ghosh, Kahani director who donned the garb of
Byomkesh in Ghosh's just shot film 'Satyaneshi', and actor
Indraneil Sengupta were among those who paid their respects.
The flower-bedecked cortege later left for heritage
Technician Studio en route to the crematorium.
Madhabi Mukherjee, who played the title role of Charu in
Satyajit Ray's masterpiece Charulata, said, "Bengali film got
a new lease of life with Ritu's films at a time when it had
come to a point of saturation."