The Genius That Was Ritwik Ghatak

November 4, 2014 at 9:15 PMNov (Cinema, Musings, Slice Of Life, Soliloquy)

Ritwik Ghatak 2 Several years ago Samik Bandhyopadhyaya once along with Mrinal Sen went to meet Ritwik Ghatak [4 Nov 1925- 6 Feb 1976]. The visit was for a specific purpose- to request Ritwik Ghatak to write a piece for a magazine which Samik Da was editing then. Ritwik Ghatak not just agreed to write but also made suggestions on how the overall issue of the magazine should be like.

While speaking with Samik Da and Mrinal Sen, all of a sudden Ritwik Ghatak had tremors and collapsed on the floor. There was a cut on his forehead and he began to bleed. Frightened by this Samik Da and Mrinal Sen called for Surama Ghatak. Picking up her husband from the floor Surama Ghatak told Shamik Da and Mrinal Sen that whenever he [Ritwik Ghatak] stopped consuming alcohol the body reacted in such a manner.

Ritwik Ghatak was taken to the hospital where he was kept in the psychiatric ward as he also had to undergo psychiatric treatment.

Samik Da realized that it was impossible to get Ritwik Ghatak’s article now. But since the name of Ghatak already on the list, as a matter of procedure the magazine office sent a card of request to Ritwik Ghatak specifying the deadline.

A couple of weeks later one fine morning when Samik Da entered his cabin in the office he was surprised to see Ritwik Ghatak’s article on his table. When inquired he found out that Ritwik Ghatak had just been discharged from the hospital and on his way back home from the hospital had submitted his article for the magazine. Ghatak had written the article while in the hospital!

The article was titled ‘Sound in Films’. This essay features in the book  ‘Cinema and I which was later republished as ‘Rows and Rows of Fences’.

Having heard Samik Da narrate this incident over a cup of chai in Heggodu [October 2010] I exclaimed, “He wrote about sound in what is known as an unsound state of mind.” Samik Da, adjusting his specs, said, “And that is a very sound piece on sound,” and after a pause added, “That was Ghatak.”

That, indeed, was Ghatak!

[The title of the blog is taken from an essay by Safdar Hashmi]

1 Comment

  1. chempinaki said,

    Reblogged this on Confessions of an Eager Mind and commented:
    Insightful

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