I have just returned from his funeral, he was like a big brother to me. He was always just a call away for me whenever I wanted an advice. We were regularly in touch with each other.
Today when I went to his house all of us felt that he was sleeping with a serene smile on his face. Looking at his paintings, books, it felt like he had an entire conjure of art. We tried to dress him according to his wish -- like he used to dress. We put a turban on his head as he would wear it. When I was getting married, he was very excited.
He wrote a script on my wedding card and styled me for all the functions. Rituda had this quality of making people friends easily. People would often be confused about our names and both of us got many calls for each other. He in fact told me once I think this confusion will exit till the end of our lives.
I always shared a special relationship with him. After I won the National award for Dahan, other known directors started taking me seriously. He made Bengali cinema’s presence felt on an international platform. I think it is a huge loss for the Bengali industry as well as for the nation. He was like a pride for us.
He was way too young. I knew him since the days even before he started out as a filmmaker. From his very first film, what came across about him was his absolute conviction in his work. He never chose to have the easy way by being ambiguous about issues that need to be talked about. He was openly effeminate and I remember him telling me that he wanted to leave this planet as a woman. In fact, he was planning to go through a surgery to attain womanhood. Wherever he went across India, people knew him -- something you can’t say the same about most of the contemporary Bengali directors.
-- Buddhadeb Dasgupta, filmmaker
I'm really in a state of shock. Just can't believe that Rituda is no more with us. I have countless memories of the man. He was a true maverick and a brilliant human being. We would have long sessions of creative arguments and there were learnings to take away from all that. I have lost a friend. Rituda has been having health issues for a while now but we never saw this coming. He was always active, brimming with ideas, so passionate about cinema. He is one man who truly loved his job; achieve perfection in everything, absolute indomitable spirit. Cinema will never be the same without him.
-- Prosenjit, actor
I am shocked. I reached Kolkata on Wednesday and was going to meet him. I had even sent him a message yesterday morning but did not get a reply which was very unusual. I am still in a state of shock and cannot believe it. I was lucky to be directed by him in Shob Charito Kalponik.
-- Paoli Dam, actress
One of my finest films is Shob Choritro Kalponik and he directed it. He was a gifted filmmaker and a fun human being. He treated me like his little sister always. I am shocked and heartbroken. A night back, I was chatting with someone about him and thought of calling him this week.
– Bipasha Basu, actress
The most shocking news of the year for me! Just two weeks ago, he greeted me on my 90th birthday. He was undoubtedly a brilliant maker. He had the ability to script and direct with a proper vision. Amongst his films, my favourites are Utsab, Shubho Mahurat and Dosar.
– Mrinal Sen, filmmaker
I think he was best in portraying women characters. He knew everything about his craft and was good actor too. Ritupurno would pay lot of attention on detailing of characters as he would tell me exactly where should I place my bindi and how should I tie my hair or how should I carry my costumes. I think he had that power that he could make even tree act. I was a newcomer when I did Chokher Bali I remember when I did my first emotional scene I could not cry at all. So he stood behind the camera and started crying so I just imitated him in front of the camera.
-- Raima Sen, actress
Shocked and saddened to hear of Rituparno Ghosh's demise. It was great working with him in Raincoat and his way of looking at things was so different. That's probably what made him a good director. He has made some great films and through them he will always be remembered.
-- Ajay Devgn
I am shocked and deeply saddened by this news. I just can't believe it! May his soul rest in peace.
-- Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
India has lost one of its finest filmmakers. He was extremely sensitive and a true artist. I’m deeply sad about his sudden demise. His films will be remembered always. May God bless his noble soul.
-- Subhash Ghai
I’m heartbroken. We are like family members and he was an excellent human being, more than anything else. Although he was of shy nature and never boasted of his laurels, he had complete control over his craft. What he leaves behind are memorable movies and a personality to cherish.
– Goutam Ghose, filmmaker
Gone before their time
A few directors from the Hindi film industry too were snatched away by the untimely blow of fate.
Shamim Desai: The young director was about to make his directorial debut with Rush starring Emraan Hashmi and Neha Dhupia. However, he passed away after a year-long struggle with stomach cancer in January 2011.
Saurabh Narang: Saurabh made his Bollywood debut with Ram Gopal Varma’s Vaastu Shastra in 2004. Sadly, he died at the age of 37 in June 2010 when he was all set to make his comeback with the Rajeev Khandelwal starrer Return Gift. He died just days before the film was to go on the floors.
Manish Acharya: After making his debut film Loins of Punjab Presents, Manish was said to be one of the most promising directors of Bollywood. In fact, he was even signed on by a big corporate firm and wanted to fulfill his dream of making a big film. He died a
tragic death after falling from a horse while holidaying in Matheran in December 2010. He was 43.
Pankaj Advani: After writing the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, he got his due recognition when he directed Sankat City. However in November 2011, he suffered a heart attack and passed away at the age of 45.