Rituparno and Rabindrasangeet

31st May 2013

Rituparno passed away yesterday. The news was a bolt from the blue. Initially, I felt almost cheated – cheated of a number of years of his creative output. Truth be told, the fact is still to sink in. Rituparno leaves behind a rich legacy. While there are many aspects of his film-making, perhaps the brightest is his elegant portrayal of complex human relations. This piece, however, is dedicated to another aspect which is quite intimate to me: Rituparno’s marvelous use of Rabindrasangeet in his films. While I am yet to watch some of his films, from the ones that I have seen, these glow brightly in my memory:

  • Jeebono moroner seemana chharaye in Shubho Mahurat: The treatment of this poignant song as an extraordinary motif in this thriller secured it its immortality, if it wasn’t secured already. A music-less rendition towards the end only enhanced the mark it left behind..
  • Je raate mor dooarguli in Noukadubi: While the use of Toree amar hothat dube jaay wasn’t unexpected given the title and incidents of the story, the theme-like usage (like in the case above) of Je raate mor dooarguli was simply extraordinary. Often, it was just the strain of the song’s tune rather than the song itself which played along in the back, echoing the tragedy of the protagonists. While Meghe Dhaka Tara had made this song its own in a heart-wrenching sequence, Noukadubi‘s scenes of the river-coast with a surviving newly-wed bride and groom in bridal attire in the aftermath of a boat-wreck will certainly follow close behind.This film featured another beautiful song too, Tomaro ashime pranomon loye, in a poignant moment of father sharing his young daughter’s pain of a heartbreak
  • Gahanakusuma kunja majhe from Abohomaan: The song from Tagore’s Bhanusingher Padabali graced Rituparno’s drama involving an aging director and his muse. While this song’s presence wasn’t as terribly strong as the two above, it was soothing none the same in the form of a dance performance in a ‘film-within-a-film’ sequence
  • Eki Labanye Purna Pran from Memories in March: While Rituparno didn’t direct the film direct this film, it was written by him and he essayed a key role in the movie too. The song isn’t sung, the wind whistling through a flute (?) plays the tune out. An ode to joy playing in a scene of death and then even more hauntingly in moments of climactic revelation and understanding – takes the breath away

One wonders how much of talent and what depth of love for the chirosokha of Bengalis, and in what measure when mixed leads to such delicious, heady results.  One now can only wonder. To borrow from Rabindrananth,

Chirodin achho dure ojanar moton nibhrito achena pure..

Na bola tomar bedona joto/ birohoprodipe sikha-ree moto, noyone tomar uthechhe joliya nirobo ki sombhashona./ bohiya bifol bashona…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *