Rituparno Ghosh- Call for Papers

full name / name of organization: 
Sangeeta Datta, Rohit K Dasgupta, Kaustav Bakshi

Rituparno Ghosh-Call for Papers

Academic papers are invited on the films and gender performativity of ace filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh who breathed his last on 30 May 2013 at his ancestral home in Calcutta. Ghosh had a significant contribution to Bengali Cinema, and he arrived at a time, when Tollywood, the Bengali film industry, seemed to be on its last legs. Satyajit Ray had passed away two years back, Mrinal Sen hardly made films, whereas Aparna Sen, who seemed to have some promise, made films far in-between. The Bengali film industry was dominated by amateurish filmmakers who reproduced sloppy copies of Bangladeshi and South Indian films, or replicated on screen tropes of folk-theatre (or jatra), completely alienating the educated, urban Bengali bhadrolok. Ghosh gave Bengali Cinema a new lease of life with his first film Hirer Angti (1994), and within a year, his second, Unishe April (1995), an intelligent adaptation of Bergman's Autumn Sonata. Overnight, Rituparno Ghosh became a household name, and in film after film for the next ten years, he continued to mesmerize them. While a few of his films, post Dosor, did not do well, he bounced back into the limelight with Ar Ekti Premer Golpo (2010) in which, he played a transvestite filmmaker, shocking as well as fascinating his bhadrolok audience. This volume of essays that would be dedicated to Ghosh's work, his sexuality, and his impact on the LGBT scene of Calcutta, proposes to take each film of Ghosh and dissect it critically, and analyze his iconic status as a queer filmmaker. Apart from that, the book would also like to look at Ghosh's multiple talents as a lyricist, a writer and a talk-show host.

The papers might examine his films from various perspectives. More than one paper on each film is accepted, as long as the points-of-view are different:

· Probable theories speculating what made Rituparno Ghosh's films such a runaway success with the urban bhadrolok audience

· Theoretical engagement with the question as to whether Ghosh's films consciously or unconsciously endorsed the late capitalist market economy and sold a dream world

· How Ghosh merged literature and cinema, and brought back to Tollywood the practice which had initially generated the term 'boi' (as in book) as a Bengali synonym for film

· How Ghosh made Rabindranath Tagore a template from which human life could draw lessons in life and death, moral values, and even revolting against normative assumptions

· Although very consciously bourgeois in his approach, how Ghosh shook the Bengali bhadrolok audience by shaking them out of their complacency by talking freely about marital rape, sexual desire of widows, adultery, passion, parallel sexualities, etc.

· How Ghosh attributed to his female characters an agency, yet, could not make a completely feminist film ever

· How Ghosh's queerness has time and again made itself evident in several of his films, long before he consciously took up the issue of same-sex desire in Ar Ekti Premer Golpo, Memories in March and Chitrangada

· Ghosh's unpretentious engagement with his queer self, his performance of his sexuality in public and its impact on the general cultural scene of the city

· Ghosh's abiding fascination with the film industry, filmmaking, and stardom as testified by several of his films, Ashukh, Titli, Shubho Muharat, Badiwali, Abohomaan, Khela, etc.

· Ghosh's handling of detective fiction, in Shubho Muharat, Tahar Naamti Ranjana (telefilm), and Satyanweshi (to be released).

· Ghosh as a lyricist: the inspiration he took from Vaishnabpadabali, Meghdoot, Bhanusingher Padabali, etc.

· Ghosh as a talk show host

· Ghosh as a writer

About the editors:
Sangeeta Datta is a Film maker. She directed the film Life Goes On (UK, 2009) and author of Shyam Benegal (British Film Institute, 2002); Kaustav Bakshi is Assistant Professor at Sanskrit College India. He edited Anxieties, Influences and After: Critical Responses to Postcolonialism and Neocolonialism (2009) and Rohit K Dasgupta is Associate Lecturer, University of the Arts London. He is the Assistant Editor of the Routledge Handbook of Indian Cinemas.

Please send us a 200 word abstract and 50 word bio by 01 July. We shall let you know by the end of July if your abstract has been accepted after review. Complete papers between 5000-6000 words will need to be submitted by 01 October, 2013. Please send abstracts to rituparnovolume@gmail.com