The world of Rituparno Ghosh: texts, contexts and transgressions

In this article we introduce the queer Bengali auteur Rituparno Ghosh (1961–2013), who had a significant role in reviving the Bengali film industry that was going through a dark phase for a little more than a decade. As an iconic feminist film-maker and queer cultural figure, Ghosh has been an influential icon within Bengal and more widely in India and the diasporas. In seeking to examine his vast oeuvre of work we focus on its various elements. First, we examine Ghosh’s feminist position, and how he shocked his middle-class audience through his transgressive discourses. Second, we investigate the influence and inspiration he received from figures such as Satyajit Ray and Rabindranath Tagore. We argue that Tagore’s sensibility and philosophy imbued all his films. In doing this he was also uncritically referencing the other great Bengali film-maker Satyajit Ray. Third, an examination of Ghosh is incomplete without referencing his uninhibited performance of queerness both in his films and in the public domain. Over here we look at his final queer film trilogy but also the impact he left on Calcutta’s LGBT community. Finally, this article ends by focusing on Ghosh’s legacy on other Bengali film-makers.