17 November 2009

MEGHE DHAKA TARA / THE CLOUD CAPPED STAR (Dir. Ritwik Ghatak, 1960, India) - Aesthetics of Realism

The aesthetics of realism feature notably in the work of Ritwik Ghatak, rigorously disseminated in the austere compositions of landscapes. The allegorical motif of the train segregates and divides transparent histories, haunting Nita (Supriya Choudhury) in ‘Megha Dhaka Tara’ so that the trauma of partition becomes an infinite process, possessing her completely.


  1. Thanks for the wonderful images. Ritwik Ghatak's movies, in general, and Meghe Dhaka Tara, in particular, happen to be my father's favourite. His movies, where memories and repercussions of Partition of India, or Bengal (to be more specific), played vital roles, touched a lot of chords among Bengalies belonging to the older generation, for the simple reason that they experienced (directly or indirectly) the tragic consequences of the event. Unfortunately, this happens to be the eccentric and self-destructive genius Ghatak's only movie that I've watched thus far.

  2. Me too. This was my first Ghatak movie and I was mesmerised all the way. What was most striking were the compositions and use of landscapes. His self destructive nature seemed to find a parallel in mainstream Indian cinema in Guru Dutt. I have managed to get a copy of his writings on cinema titled 'Cinema and I' and he was real intellectual. And he also taught at Pune Film Institute - I wonder who got the chance to be one of his lucky students?

  3. That's not just an extremely pertinent question, but an interesting one as well. I have a colleague at my workplace who is a moving encyclopedia on a variety of topics. Let me see if he can provide any info on that.