Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara: Immortalizing the refugee woman on celluloid


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Ritwik Ghatak & Partition

India’s moment of liberation from the British was also a moment of rupture: with independence came partition on 15 August 1947, in what was one of the greatest ironies of 20th century history. Partition did not mean quite the same thing for Punjab and Bengal – the two provinces that got divided on the eastern and western borders of India – but there was one aspect that was common to both: most ordinary citizens found it difficult to accept the fact of partition and their lives changed beyond recognition once they became refugees.

And yet, as far as Bengal was concerned, Partition hardly had any immediate thematic impact on film or literature. The first Bengali novel to deal with partition came out only in 1955 – Narayan Sanyal’s Bakultala P.L.Camp. But it was highlighted on celluloid much earlier – in the 1950 classic, Chinnamul (“The Uprooted”)…

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