Movie review | Rituparno’s Chitrangada The Crowning Wish
Rituparno Ghosh’s Chitrangada The Crowning Wish is a bold statement on one’s wish, one’s right and one’s freedom to be what one likes to be (in gender). After focusing on the suppression of woman sexuality by the orthodox society, revealing the sexual exploitation of women in the patriarchal society, and highlighting the society’s biased treatment of a director’s relationship with his heroine Rituparno Ghosh has embarked on a journey in quest of his on-screen character’s identity and existence which are usually defined by a specific gender – male or female. The story of Chitrangada The Crowning Wish is that of an artist’s liberal wish, liberal thought and liberal choice. The director cum actor cum dancer makes it clear in the beginning of the movie.
I have not read Rabindranath’s poetic dance drama Chitrangada. Evidently I don’t know how far the reference to Rabindranath Tagore’s version of the mythological character Chitrangada is absolutely justified in Rituparno’s modern take on the subject. What connects Rituparno’s homosexual character to Rabindranath’s Chitrangada is their wish to choose a gender braving the barriers created by the conventional social norms about one’s sexual orientation. The biological (hence natural) wish of Rituparno’s character to turn a woman through sexual transition is in conflict with his parents in particular and society in general. The mental stress that the character goes through for his decision to go for sexual transition is aesthetically depicted in the reel.
Rituparno Ghosh’s storytelling technique carries off the bell. He is unrivaled in the art of telling stories in flashback. Abohman, The Last Lear, Sab Charitro Kalponik, and Unishe April bear out to his being a consummate storyteller. The story of Chitrangada The Crowning Wish is presented in form of numerous fragments of the past and the present that are deftly pieced together. It touches the depth of hearts through the lyrical quality and poetic presentation of the script penned by Rituparno himself. Parents’ inhibition to accept their son’s feminine behavioral traits, their conflict in choosing between society and their child’s happiness, an artist’s creative identity, the loneliness of those who society take to be sexually abnormal and other such sensitive issues are well pointed-out in the script.
Deepankar Dey and Anasua Majumdar consummately essay the parents of Rituparno’s character. Jishu Sengupta steals the show for his unkempt yet attractive look. He has gone a few steps further to kiss and caress the protagonist in the movie. Anjun Dutt’s performance is natural. The implied onscreen chemistry between the protagonist and his psychological counselor Anjun Dutt is sure to click with the audience. The choreography and the music in the movie meets the parameters of creative excellence. More, Rituparno dons the hat of a director and an actor with élan, at the same time. One’s freedom and joy of living as what one is matter many times more than one’s gender, is the message of the movie.
My verdict: Rituparno Ghosh’s Chitrangada The Crowning Wish is a must watch.