A RIVER CALLED TITAS

(Titas Ekti Nadir Naam, India-Bangladesh/1973) by Ritwik Ghatak

titashWritten by Advaita Malla Burman, Ritwik Ghatak. Editing: Basheer Hussain. Director of Photography: Baby Islam. Original Music by: Ustad Bahadur Khan. Produced by: Habibur Rahman Khan. Production Company: Starring: Kabari Choudhury (Rajar Jhi), Roushan Jamil (Mother), Probir Mitra (Kishore), Ritwik Ghatak (Tilakchand), Rani Sarkar (Mungli), Sufia Rustam (Udaytara), Rosi Smad (Basanti). Running time: 158’. b&w. Country of Production: India. Language: Bengali with French/English subtitles. From: Ribatan Ghatak/Ritwik Memorial Trust; National Film Archive of India; Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv.

Restored in 2010 by the World Cinema Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory.

If you were eighteen years old, growing up in New Delhi, a student of cinema, a cinephile or a plain film snob, it was given that you would swoon over the film-maker Ritwik Ghatak and spend endless hours in the Delhi University canteen discussing his films, his alcoholism, and his eventual death from Tuberculosis. An ‘avant garde’ Writer and Director, Ghatak had caught the imagination of many of us who carried Mao’s Red Book’ and quoted liberally from it (in English) at the drop of a hat. After all, didn’t Ghatak (a card carrying Communist) film the extreme poverty and the cultural extinction of Bengal by Imperialism? Because of the political ‘din’ surrounding much of Ghatak’s work, ironically the work itself, as opposed to the man’s personality and politics, got neglected by the legion of his die-hard fans (me included!). It was only years later when I saw his epic, A River Called Titas, that I swooned for totally different reasons. The film is a work of pure genius. A passionate elegy for a dying culture, it moved me profoundly, and continues to haunt me to this day. Based on a novel by the Bengali author Advaita Barman and adapted for the screen by Ghatak, A River Called Titas, tells the raw and powerful story of a dying river and a dying culture.
–Deepa Mehta, May 2010

Notes on the restoration
The restoration of A River called Titas used the camera and sound negatives and a positive print provided by the Ritwik Memorial Trust and held at the National Film Archive of India. As the original negative is incomplete and some reels were severely damaged, a combined lavender and a positive print provided by the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv were also used. The digital restoration produced a new 35 mm internegative.

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