|Meghe Dhaka Tara|
A poster for Meghe Dhaka Tara.
|Directed by||Ritwik Ghatak|
|Written by||Ritwik Ghatak (screenplay), Shaktipada Rajguru(the original novel)|
Ranen Ray Choudhury
|Music by||Anil Chandra Sengupta|
Meghe Dhaka Tara (Bengali: ? ? ? M?gh? ?h?k? T?r?, meaning The Cloud-Capped Star) is a 1960 film written and directed by Ritwik Ghatak, based on a social novel by Shaktipada Rajguru with the same title. It stars Supriya Choudhury, Anil Chatterjee, Gita Dey, Bijon Bhattacharya, Niranjan Roy, and Gyanesh Mukherjee. It was part of a trilogy consisting of Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960), Komal Gandhar (1961), and Subarnarekha (1962), all dealing with the aftermath of the Partition of Bengal during the Partition of India in 1947 and the refugees coping with it.
The film revolves around Neeta (played by Supriya Choudhury), a beautiful young girl who lives with her family, refugees from East Pakistan, in the suburbs of Calcutta. Neeta is a self-sacrificing person who is constantly exploited by everyone around her, even her own family, who take her goodness for granted. Her elder brother (played by Anil Chatterjee) does not care for the family as he wants to be a singer, so she needs to take the burden. Her life is ridden with personal tragedy: she loses first her fiancé, then her job and finally her health by contracting tuberculosis. Her mostly absent would-be singer brother is the only person who cares about her in the end. At the end of the film, she screams out her agony, throwing herself into her brother's arms. She utters her last words: "Brother, I want to survive (?, ?)."
This film was directed by alternative filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak in Kolkata (then Calcutta). In contrast to many Bollywood films made in Mumbai, India's main film center, Ghatak's films are formally elaborate and somber, and often address issues related to the Partition of India. Although Partition is never explicitly mentioned in Meghe Dhaka Tara, it takes place in a refugee camp in the outskirts of Calcutta, and concerns an impoverished genteel Hindu bhadralok family and the problems they face because of Partition.
The film is perhaps the most widely viewed film among Ghatak's works; it was his greatest commercial success at home, and coincided with an international film movement towards personal stories and innovative techniques (the so-called 'new wave'). After Ghatak's death, his work (and this film in particular) began to attract a more sizable global audience, via film festivals and the subsequent release of DVDs both in India and in Europe.
Meghe Dhaka Tara is strongly melodramatic in tone, especially as concerns the sufferings heaped on the protagonist. As in many of his other films, Ghatak also uses surrealistic sound effects, such as sounds of a lashing as the heroine suffers yet another tragic twist of fate.
Anil Chandra Sengputa composed the film score. He used classical Indian musical forms and included a song by Rabindranath Tagore, sung to Nita by her brother, Shankar. Sengupta also wrote the film music for Ritwik Ghatak's Nagarik.
The title 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' was given by me, original story was published in a popular newspaper by the name of 'Chenamukh'. Something in this story stirred me. And that is why Shakespeare's 'The Cloud Capped Star' struck my mind and I decided to pen a new script all together. It could be a bit sentimental, but to throw overtones out of it came to mind gradually. Here I made use of Indian mythology which is a part of my life. 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' expressed my thoughts.
In 2012, Meghe Dhaka Tara was ranked at #235 and #322 on the Sight & Sound's critics' and directors' poll of "The Greatest Films of All Time" respectively. The movie is also listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, which praises "the grace of Ghatak's mise en scène, his expressionist sound design, and the enormous sense of loss."