Ghatak literally reduced to the subaltern
The lament of Partha Chatterjee, the doyen of the original Subaltern Studies project, over the neglect of Ritwik Ghatak’s films at the Ritwik Ghatak Memorial Trust in the congested Chetla market in Kolkata points to the subaltern nature of Ghatak in Indian film history and indeed consciousness:
The flat resembles a ship’s cabin À la the Marx brothers. Cans of film lie on the veranda completely at the mercy of the elements. Kolkata, it must be remembered, has a trying monsoon every year.
In what can only be termed an irony he points to the subaltern position of Ghatak vis-a-vis Satyajit Ray:
In contrast, the legacy of Ghatak’s great contemporary Satyajit Ray (1921-1992) is assured of survival. Most of his films have been conserved, thanks to the vigorous efforts of Ray aficionado Dilip Basu, an academic based in Santa Cruz, California. He has lobbied various well-heeled individuals and institutions for funds to preserve the negatives and soundtracks of many of Ray’s films, along with other paraphernalia associated with the artist. Besides, the Satyajit Ray Society in Kolkata also works to perpetuate his memory. Ritwik Ghatak has had no such luck.