Now Reading
Queer Indian filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh dies aged 49

Queer Indian filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh dies aged 49

Award-winning filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh died at his home in Kolkata this morning. The 49-year-old, who had been suffering from disease of the pancreas, had a heart attack.

After an early career in advertising his first film Hirer Angti in his Bengali mother tongue was released in 1994. Since then he has directed 20 films which won over a dozen National Film Awards in various categories. His 2000 film Bariwali won an award at the Berlin International Film Festival.

Only two days ago Ghosh tweeted that he had just wrapped up shooting on crime thriller Satyanewshi ‘in the molten glow of the pensive falling afternoon’.

Ghosh’s Twitter account also criticized Indian former cabinet minister who tweeted ‘being gay is a mental disorder’ earlier this week. ‘Subramanian Swamy taunts gays and exposes his own ignorance,’ Ghosh tweeted.

The prolific filmmaker, who also acted in films, came out after his mother’s death and began to appear in public in feminine clothes.

‘Queers are supposed to be irresponsible to their families,’ he said at a conference in Kathmandu in 2011, Santa Banta reported at the time. ‘People think their parents don’t love them. My world centered around my parents.’

At the conference Ghosh spoke about his pain at being mocked on a Bengali TV show. ‘When you imitate me, you caricature a whole community,’ said. ‘Please mention in future then that this is a caricature of Rituparno Ghosh and nobody else.’

Twitter resounded with a chorus of tributes to Ghosh today. Fellow queer Indian filmmaker Onir said ‘his passing will be a big loss not only to lovers of cinema and art, but a huge loss to the LGBT community’.

Shekhar Kapur, director of Elizabeth (starring Cate Blanchett) tweeted that he was ‘shocked’ by the news of his friend’s death.

‘He was dreaming of getting into what he called his "next phase",’ Kapur said. ‘Hugely creative explorer on film… Every passing of a friend is a reminder 2 not delay your dreams.’

Actor Anupam Kher, who recently played the therapist in Silver Linings Playbook, praised Ghosh for his ‘great sense of humor’ and ‘brilliant understanding of human behavior’. Kher added: ‘Will miss him and his cinema. RIP my Friend.’

Veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee said ‘I cannot believe that Rituparna is no more. It is very difficult to accept this news. We lost a very promising film director at a very early age.’

India Express has compiled a slideshow of Ghosh’s life in pictures here.