‘Ritwik Ghatak’s protagonist still exists in modern-day woman’

Kolkata, Nov 14 (IANS) The rigours of partition and its effects on modern-day women are the central issues in the documentary ‘Beyond Borders’ that also commemorates 50 years of Ritwik Ghatak’s masterpiece ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’.

Made by journalist-turned-filmmaker Sharmila Maity, the 48-minute documentary captures the challenges before the 21st century woman only to conclude that modern-day eves are not insulated from the evils of partition.

‘My film is a docu-fiction about partition and its effect on the female psyche. The film deals with the 21st century women who are not at all alienated from the evils of partition as it still exists at the superficial level,’ Maiti told IANS, after the documentary’s screening at the 16th Kolkata Film Festival.

The docu-fiction is divided into two parts. In the first half, the three main protagonists of Rithik Ghatak’s masterpiece ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ – Supriya Devi, Gita Ghatak and Gita Dey – for the first time sit in front of the camera and nostalgically recall the experience of shooting ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’. They also recollect the turbulent years of partition.

Supriya Devi and Gita Ghatak had played sisters ‘Nita’ and ‘Mita’ in ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’, set amidst a family’s struggle for survival in a refugee camp. Nita, the elder sister, had to set aside all her pleasures and desires as the sole breadwinner of the family after her father became invalid.

Gita Dey had given a memorable performance as the mother of the sisters. To keep the family kitchen going, she ensures that Nita does not marry her boyfriend, who finally ties the knot with Mita – a development that shatters Nita.

The second part of ‘Beyond Borders’ is a fiction about the 21st century woman, who still faces agony and hardships as portrayed in ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ but the overall problems have changed.

‘For today’s woman, the main problem is not having a job or losing her job due to recession. The film states that the ‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ main protagonist Nita still exists in the modern day woman but the problems have changed.’

‘And my film also tries to state that the communal problems we have in independent India have their roots in the partition. That means we are reaping the harvest of that hatred created by partition,’ Maiti said.

‘Meghe Dhaka Tara’ was released in 1960.

‘Beyond Borders’ has been acclaimed both nationally and internationally. It was selected for the International Conference of Cinema 2010 and was appreciated at the Venice Film Festival.

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