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Ritwik Ghatak between the Messianic and the Material1

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Parallel to the largely melodramatic and formulaic production of commercial Indian cinema, there emerged what has come to be since known as the "alternative cinema" in India. While Satyajit Ray, India's best known filmmaker, put Indian "art" cinema on the map with films such as the Apu Trilogy, Jalsaghar, and Charulata, yet another director, Ritwik Ghatak, emerged in the post Independence era to provide a different kind of cinema. Rooted in Indian traditions and making a break with the romantic lyric neo-realist style of Satyajit Ray, Ghatak's more intellectual and more sensuously grounded cinema gave rise to a different paradigm of filmmaking for subsequent film-makers. His works have included the two masterpieces, Megha Dake Tara and Subarnarekha, the focus of this paper.

Keywords: Indian cinema; Megha Dake Tara; Ritwik Ghatak; Subarnarekha; filmmaking; post independence

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: UCLA

Publication date: 1999-03-01

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  • Asian Cinema is a seminal journal, which has been published since 1995 by the Asian Cinema Studies Society under the stewardship of Professor John Lent. From 2012 Asian Cinema will be published by Intellect as part of our Film Studies journal portfolio. The journal currently publishes a variety of scholarly material - including research articles, interviews, book and film reviews and bibliographies - on all forms and aspects of Asian cinema. The journal's broad aim is to advance understanding and knowledge of the rich traditions of the various Asian cinemas, thereby making an invaluable contribution to the field of Film Studies in general.
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