Rituparno Ghosh was a legendary Indian filmmaker. He was amongst the people who suffered the society as there was no acceptance of the people who belonged to the LGBTQIA+ Community. Rituparno Ghosh was t with an assertive attitude towards his sexual identity. He often did advocacy as a representative of the LGBTQIA+ Community.
He changed the Bengali film industry by making movies for the new Bengal of the 1990s. He was inspired by the works of Satyajit Ray and was a keen reader of Rabindranath Tagore. Bird of Dusk is a film that gives a tribute to the man who neutralized same-sex relationships. This film is an insight into the life of Ghosh, who is an iconic cultural figure from West Bengal who contributed a lot to the cinema with his movies where he pushed borders of sexuality, gender neutrality freedom of thoughts, and feminism. He played gay characters in his films.
He eventually gave exposure to the LGBTQ community through his movies.
He supported LGBTQIA+ Community on and off the screen. The idea of progressive, sexually active women and men was explored in his early films. The last three films of his entire career are the ones that have sexuality as a living character.
Arekti Premer Golpo(2010) starring Rituparno Ghosh as Abhirop Sen. He played the role of transgender filmmaker, who visits Kolkata to make a documentary with his partner. Still, in the state, he faces discrimination and mental traumas. He is a transgender person who is not considered as normal sex in society.
Memories in March (2011), is an Indian drama film where Rituparno is playing the role of Ornab who has a taste for sarees. It is an exploration of a situation when a mother who is suffering from the loss of his son gets to know about her son’s sexual identity. Also his last movie Chitrangada (2012), the same is about a choreographer Rudra who is staging a Rabindranath Tagore’s dance-drama, which is based on a tale from Mahabharata, he decides to have an operation to become a woman.
These characters come out from the time when he was facing difficulties not just in society but also among his family and friends because of his sexual identity. There is a belief that he desperately wanted to be a woman.
He liked to wear necklaces and earrings. Rituporna once said, “Why shouldn’t I celebrate my identity?” He normalized the third gender through his movies. He had a new film every year, which brought the middle-class audience close to the cinema. He created a cultural expectation that rapidly spread from Kolkata to all over India.
LGBTQIA+ Community is no longer referred to as of the diseased mind or cursed by Gods. Over time people are growing to become more inclusive, and the LGBTQIA+ Community is trying hard to gain acceptance in society. Rituparno Ghosh consistently had been an inspiration for the people belonging to sexual minorities. “He was a silent activist. He spoke through his movies,” says the film director Onir. Ghosh died on May 31, 2013, because of a heart attack. His death has been a huge loss not just for the cinema but also for the minorities.
“He’s coming out and claiming freedom ‘to be who you want to be’ is a liberty call for not just the LGBTQ community but also for all those who wish to live on their terms. He is a legend to the next generation,” Says Sangeeta Datta, who has co-authored a book and made a documentary “Birds Of Dusk” on the filmmaker.