Gender is a huge burden for most people and Rituparno Ghosh was one person who went beyond the genders, scriptwriter Deedi Damodaran has said.

“Rituparno Ghosh had dedicated his whole life to puncture the idea of third gender. It is sad to see that after his death he is being associated with an idea which he felt was unfair.”

She was delivering the Rituparno Ghosh commemoration speech at a programme organised by the Silver Screen Film Society here on Friday.

“Rituparno understood the temperament of a woman much better than any woman,” she said. He was always unpleasant, short-tempered and barked at the media. His last three films were an answer to why he behaved in such a manner. He was irritated when people focused on his sexual preference rather than his works. Rituparno deserved to be discussed as a film-maker. But highlighting his gender was an injustice to him,” Ms. Deedi said.

Third gender

Theatre activist Civic Chandran, in his presidential address, said that Rituparno was one of the few directors who had the guts to portray the gender quest in their films. Third gender was a powerful presence in his films.

His films were important when we discussed gender, as the people in Kerala had not shown the readiness to accept people from the third gender as individuals.

There were many people of the third gender who were deprived of their right to dress as they wished, he added.

Actor Mamukoya who inaugurated the programme said that cinema became a part of society only when it was discussed by the masses.

Film-maker Anil Kumar Thiruvoth explained how the three versions of Chitrangada — the story in Mahabharata, the play by Rabindranath Tagore and the movie by Rituparno Ghosh — were different from each other.

Tagore was the person who brought in the gender issue of Chitrangada into the picture through his play.

Rituparno took up the conflict and interpreted it in his own way.

In Chitrangada, one could witness the magic in which the director and the character became one.

In a sense, the conflict of the character in the movie was the same as what Rituparno faced in his real life, Mr. Thiruvoth said.

Sanjesh, an activist who has been working among the sexual minorities for 15 years, explained the problems faced by transgender people. Bhavana, a transgender, spoke.

“Rituparno Ghosh had dedicated his whole life to puncture the idea of third gender. It is sad to see that after his death he is being associated with an idea which he felt was unfair.”

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