A rain-swept Kolkata came out on the streets to pay tribute to eminent film-maker Rituparno Ghosh, who passed away on Thursday morning at the age of 49. Men and women, young and old queued up to have a last glimpse of the man who brought glory to Bengali cinema, as surging crowds broke police barricades in one instance.

For Rituparno, who was suffering from pancreatitis and has been in and out of hospital since last year, the end came following a cardiac arrest at around 7.30 a.m. at his residence. Despite his illness, the film-maker managed to complete his last feature film Satyanwesi (The Truth-Seeker).

Nonagenarian film-director Mrinal Sen, actor and thespian Soumitra Chatterjee, directors Goutam Ghose, Aparna Sen and Haranath Chakraborty, actors Prasenjit Chatterjee and Debasree Roy were among those who paid homage to Mr. Ghose at his South Kolkata residence. The small two-storied house, named Tasher Desh ( A House of Cards , named after a Tagore play) teemed with film personalities and fans.

Mamata pays tribute

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee too paid her last respects. “Bengal has lost a golden artiste,” she said. She later garlanded a picture of Rituparno at the State Secretariat.

Rituparno was among the section of intelligentsia that had lent its support to Ms. Banerjee during the Nandigram movement, and he even participated in sit-ins.

By the time the cortege reached Nandan in the afternoon, there were snaking queues of people braving a nagging drizzle and gusty winds. Wreath upon wreath were piled onto his glass coffin faster than they could be cleared off, as people tried to have a last glimpse of the filmmaker who won myriad awards, national and international, over a two-decade long career.

Among those who condoled his death were Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the former Chief Minister, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and Leader of the Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra.

Ms. Banerjee, who was among the first to arrive at the residence of Rituparno Ghosh, said the life of a golden artist of a golden era had come to an untimely end. “It is a sad sad day for us.”

Sanjay Budhia, chairman of the Task Force on Media & Entertainment, CII Eastern Region, said his movies defined a new genre and the world of cinema was left poorer by his untimely demise. Satyajit Roy’s son Sandip was also seen at Nandan paying tributes to Rituparno.

The body was also taken to the Tollygunj Technicians Studio, where technicians paid tribute.

In deference to his wish that he be taken to where his parents were cremated, the body was taken to a cremation ground in South West Kolkata, where the police gave a gun salute even as he lay in his favourite attire — wearing a turban and draped with a kantha-stitch shawl. Many wept inconsolably as his body was consigned to the flames.

Men and women, young and old, queued up to have a last glimpse of the man who brought glory to Bengali cinema