An independent voice amidst myriad influences

Posted: July 5, 2018 in Bengali films, Gautam Ghose, social commentary

 

In the era subsequent to Sen-Ray-Ghatak, Gautam Ghose has emerged as a true inheritor of their rich legacy. His films draw from the influences of these masters but nonetheless speak in a distinct, independent voice. His contemporaries like Aparna Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Rituparno Ghosh and Sandip Ray and others have distinguished themselves in certain genres and GG, in several ways, have treaded a different path. While the films of Aparna often deal with relationship and loneliness, the films of Rituparno dealt with Tagorean flashbacks and urban relationships, Sandip Ray has stuck to making Feluda films and other stories of his father, while Buddhadeb Dasgupta after a string of political films started his journey of a ‘very personal kind of cinema’ replete with magic realism, surrealism & other devices.

Gautam Ghose has made a long documentary on Satyajit Ray, and the influence of Ray can be seen in the way the strong emphasis on narrative he lays in his works. Making films on performing artistes (Mithun act as a ventriloquist in Gudia, the biopic Moner Manush) had been a recurring feature in the works of Ray (Joy Baba Felunath, Goopy Gane Bagha Byne, Hirak Rajar Deshe, Phatikchand). He also made a sequel on Ray’s ARANYER DIN RATRI as ABAR ARANYE. The deep social commitment of Mrinal Sen runs through in his oeuvre while Partition, a recurring feature in the films of Ghatak, is also seen in the works of GG (Dekha, Shankachil).

The distinct stamp of the filmmaker often surpassing his influences can be seen in the way he combines brilliant photography, good music and socially relevant subjects into a neat, integrated whole. He weaves the unifying vision of Tagore, Lalan Fakir, Kabir, Dara Shikoh and others strongly in the narrative of his recent works (Moner Manush, Shunno Theke Suru). Displacement of indigenous people and loss of tribal knowledge and heritage resonate in Shunno Theke Suru, while lack of basic health care and issues of partition form the backdrop of his most recent work ‘Shankhachil.’

Several award winning documentariesand fourteen feature films later, GG has emerged as a worthy successor to don the mantle of the triumvirate of art cinema.

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