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'Bird Of Dusk': Rituparno Ghosh lives again


Film: "Bird Of Dusk" (Documentary on filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh); Director: Dutta; Rating: ****

Dutta spent considerable time with my friend before he died quite suddenly. Many feel it was his gender confusion that killed this brilliant filmmaker, considered next only to Satyajit Ray in In fact, when during the course of this illuminating, evocative and yes, talkative documentary on the 'Man Who Would Be Queen', says, "He wanted to look like me", she isn't off the mark.

Ritu, my friend, was indeed taken up with his Reenadi's (Aparna Sen's) beauty. I am not sure if he wanted to look like her, though. told me in his closing years that he wanted to look like Rekha. In fact, who directed Rituparno's films as an in his closing years when he explored the issue of gender ambiguity, says indeed wanted to look like Rekha.

There are shots of dressing up elaborately in bridal finery in this documentary that gave me goosbumps. This was the phase in Ritu's life that ultimately took away his life.

And what a life! Dutta's "Bird Of Dusk" is a gentle, poetic, elegiac tribute that tracks down the people Ritu worked with closely -- from legends like (who says Ritu wanted him to look and walk like an ordinary man) and to more contemporary artistes like and .. they all speak feelingly about Ritu's amazing eye for feminine detail.

That he was a woman trapped in a man's body is a fact that no one tries to sweep under the carpet. This is a film that flatters, but not to deceive.

Ritu's stubborn failings are also discussed in this eulogistic excursion. Sharmila talks of how the invited the press in Kolkata to cover the shooting of "Shubo Mahurat", the film in which Ritu cast Sharmila and Raakhee together after several decades. Ritu wanted the press to report the fireworks between the two actresses.

Nandita brings up Rituparno's greatest failing as a professional artiste: his predisposition to offer the same role to a number of actors.

These are failings that I was personally privy to. During his lifetime, they never took away from Rituparno's arching excellence as a filmmaker.

"Bird Of Dusk" brings forth the nuances in Ritu's artistic vision without mincing words. Every interviewee seems to have a special insight into Ritu's artistry. The warm glow that the illuminating thoughts spreads across the documentary brings to us the sad yet fulfilling journey of an artiste who died too young.

I missed the presence of some very important actors who worked closely with the filmmaker, like Jisshu Sengupta, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Amitabh Bachchan, in this delicately-tuned ode to the life and chimes of But then it kind of falls into place... an incomplete documentary on an incomplete life. We will miss Rituda for a long time.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, June 29 2018. 14:54 IST