He was a man in a hurry, always in a rush, as if time was running out … I recall an incident when I had suggested that he might need a pause and some time off once in a while; some breathing space. He smiled and nodded … and was back to work again.

That was about five years ago. He had not even turned 50 and today Rituparno Ghosh is no more. It was barely a few days ago that he had completed shooting of what now turns out will be his last film. The clock has indeed stopped ticking for him.

He had so much to say.“There is such a lot of work to be done,” he used to keep saying. Yes, he was overworked but never in all this haste was his attention to detail lacking. He was prolific but also meticulous, whether his works were acclaimed for what they were or were not.

Just as he was adventurous and innovative in his films, he was so too in his attitude. This trait of his caught the public eye fast; and just as he was talked about as a film-maker who had started with a bang and was rushing along headlong, his sexual preferences also became a subject in social discourse, if not whispers.

An advocate of the gay movement in a society that still frowns at same-sex relations, Rituparno stands out as one who stood for what he believed in. This is what I really appreciate in him … the confidence he had in his own point of view no matter what; a quiet but firmly independent spirit that found reflection in his various interactions, not to speak of his films.

As well as in his attire, which caught many an eye and sometimes also raised a frown, he was path-breaking in fashion, silently assertive, but never obtrusive.

Rituparno was a highly intelligent and sensitive person. Not only was he a film-maker but was scholarly too — well read, he had a passion for literature, and was a columnist as well.

I spotted his immense possibilities in his first film Hirer Angti (1994). “Here was a new, young director who can tell stories,” I told myself. One of my first reactions after viewing it was that someone with “style” had arrived in Bengali and Indian cinema.

As he journeyed from one film to another, what held him in good stead was his marketing abilities — a legacy of his years in advertising. The marketing angle — he knew it very well; plus it helped the acceptability of his films.

The world of cinema has suddenly darkened; it is in a state of shock with his passing away. So am I. For Rituparno there was always so much more to get done, so many thoughts waiting to be played out in cinema buzzing in his mind. But sadly, things have turned out differently.

— As told to The Hindu

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