MUMBAI: "Bird Of Dusk", a docu-feature based on the life story of late National Award-winning Bengali filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, offered an absorbing experience to the audience during its India premiere at the 20th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival with Star.
The movie was screened here on Sunday night, and left the audience emotional about the filmmaker's personal journey.
Directed by Sangeeta Datta, the docu-feature captures Ghosh's transformation from the copywriter of an ad agency to a cultural and fashion icon of Bengal with his celebrated films. The movie includes several interviews of actors like Nandita Das, Sharmila Tagore, Arjun Rampal, Aparna Sen, Konkona Sen Sharma along with cinematographer, other filmmakers who had a long association with Ghosh.
Ghosh's personal creative journey touched the audience, and many budding filmmakers and youngsters regretted not knowing Ghosh and his contributions to Indian cinema, well enough.
A 19-year-old viewer said: "I loved this documentary and now I cannot wait to binge watch Rituparno Ghosh's films. Unfortunately, I had not much idea about his personality, though I have watched some of his work like 'Chokher Bali'."
The docu-feature also shows Ghosh's transformation from being a man to coming out of the closet as one of the third gender.
Datta had worked closely as an associate director with Ghosh.
Asked if she had any conversation to know Ghosh's opinion on the third gender and his frame of mind after coming out of the closet, she said: "There was a time when a number of his friends stood back when he started experimenting with his own body. We knew that he was diabetic and such an operation would be risky for his body, which eventually turned out lethal.
"During 'Chitrangada' (a film in which Ghosh acted), he talked about the possibility of change from male to female and then explaining that it is not that simple, from one gender to another, but it is about androgyny.
"In fact, we had several conversations on androgyny. Ritu would ask me, 'What is it?' and I would explain how I interpret the concept of Ardhnarishwar, which has a reference in our ancient text. Yet, our society will not accept that concept," she said.
That was an emotionally dark time for Ghosh.
Dutta said: "At one point, a larger group felt laid down because Ritu did not go through sex reassignment surgery and that remains a topic of conversation in the Bengali film industry. The question was hanging on if Ritu is a man or a woman... but Ritu did not answer any of them."