Nagarik

Volume 1

Edited by Ira Bhaskar. Translated by Rani Ray.

Tulika Books

Nagarik

Pub Date: July 2020

ISBN: 9788194126041

88 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $14.00£11.99

Nagarik

Volume 1

Edited by Ira Bhaskar. Translated by Rani Ray.

Tulika Books

Set in Calcutta in the immediate aftermath of the Partition, Ritwik Ghatak’s Nagarik (released in 1977 after Ghatak’s death in 1976) chronicles the struggles of a refugee family from East Bengal as they desperately strive to survive in a metropolis which is unable to address the necessities of thousands of people pouring in from across the border. The protagonist, Ramu, like hundreds of other young men, struggles to find that elusive job; unemployment, starvation, incessant dislocation, and the yearning for stability and a home mark the lives of the refugee families in this film. Ghatak was to return to the theme in three other films that have been known as the Partition Trilogy—Meghe Dhaka Tara, Komal Gandhar, and Subarnarekha. With this translation of the screenplay of Nagarik, it will be clear that Ghatak’s Partition films, those that deal directly with the lives of refugees in Calcutta, form a quartet and not a trilogy. Nagarik also represents an enticing historiographical idea, the ‘what if’ of Indian film history: perhaps if it had been released in 1952 when it was made, and before Pather Panchali, the accounts of Indian art cinema that have privileged the Ray film would have been different, and Ghatak may have been accepted as an important Indian auteur in his lifetime.

About the Author

Ira Bhaskar is professor of cinema studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her book Islamicate Cultures of Bombay Cinema (with Richard Allen) was published in 2009.

Rani Ray has translated several texts from Bengali into English including a volume of short stories by Ritwik Ghatak (2001).