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The Photojaanic Photobook Grant this year was awarded to the project Life after Ritwik Ghatak – by the grandaunt-grandniece duo Surama Ghatak and Nabarupa Bhattacharjee. This self-published photobook shall explore the memories of 90-year old Surama Ghatak, wife of filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak.  The Bengali filmmaker and scriptwriter is known for his contribution to independent cinema in India, and is considered a legend in the Indian film industry.

Nabarupa chronicles the experience of her grandaunt through old photographs and anecdotes. For her, Surama is the unsung hero, whose story she finds inspiration in.  While a lot has been written on the life and work of the filmmaker (including two books by Ms. Ghatak), this photobook will be a first to present a photo based narrative about Ghatak.

As we prepare to launch the book next month, Nabarupa shares her work process and sneak peek into the project. Life after Ritwik Ghatak will be released during the International Film Festival of India (2016) in Goa.

For those who missed it earlier, read this detailed interview with the author.

Text and Images courtesy Nabarupa Bhattacharjee

In the first month we started working on the project, I moved in with Ms. Surama Ghatak or thamma (as i call her). I wanted to spend time with her in her environment. This not only gave me the opportunity to observe and photograph her life but also gave way to several amazing conversations. We spoke about life, love, marriage, society, women power and courage. Staying with her also  gave me a chance to be a silent observer as I saw her go about her daily routine.


Surama Ghatak flips through an old photo album

Thamma starts her day with Surya Namaskar. Her age and health are a worry for me. She is on heavy medication and requires assistance in most chores. On a regular day thamma watches television, reads several newspapers and magazine and spends time arranging files and documents of the Ritwik Memorial Trust. She generously shares old photographs, memories, anecdotes with me, that shape this book. She speaks of her late husband Ritwik Ghatak and her relationship with him, sharing insights about his thoughts and personality.


Surama and Ritwik Ghatak meet in Bolpur for dinner. They often discussed his films over meals.

Memories are very important. They make you the person you are. My relationship with Surama Devi and her memories helped me understand Ritwik Ghatak, who i have never met. To understand Ritwik is to understand Surama, you need time and observation and a deeper understanding of human troubles.


Surama Ghatak in her home with an iconic image of Ritwik Ghatak from the film Jukti Tokko Aar Goppo

Currently, I am spending my time scanning old photos and organizing the ones I have shot of her. She helps me decide what we should use in the book. I am surprised by how vividly she remembers things from the past, both good and difficult. I ask her so many questions that she answers with grace. I am awe-inspired by her strength and courage.


Surama Ghatak at Filmistan Studio where Ritwik Ghatak worked, 1955

As the book nears completion we hope to present the story of a woman as commendable as her celebrated artist husband. In a way, our book narrates the story of our family as it does, of an icon of Indian cinema.

Postscript: We are pleased to share, Life after Ritwik Ghatak is now available to order here

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  • Pl. Include me

    • Newvision

      Sure Pradip, glad this is of interest to you. Please sign up for our newsletter for updates.

  • Now this is very interesting. Will have it for sure.

    • Newvision

      Thanks for your interest Aritra. We shall update you soon.

  • Proshanto Mahato

    I need a copy of this book !!

    • Newvision

      Great to hear that Prashanto. The book will soon be available to buy on our website. Will keep you informed.

  • Rajarshi Majumdar

    I need one copy.

    • Newvision

      Happy to know that Rajashri. We will keep you informed. Thank you!

  • Anirban Mal

    Congratulations….Need a copy ….

  • Raju Roychowdhury

    I want a copy of this book.

    • Newvision

      Thanks Raju. The book shall be available to buy on our website very soon! We will keep you posted.

  • Hello. Please let know the procedure to get a copy of this labor of love 🙂 Would like to have a personal copy of the same. Thanks in advance.

    • Newvision

      Thanks so much for your interest Sahil. The book will be available to buy on our website very soon. Will keep you posted.

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