Ritwik Kumar Ghatak was one of them who were able to break new grounds in carrying conviction to the world of cinema that it is not merely the medium of entertainment but one of public education, enlightment, philosophy and consciousness. The IPTA Movements, Communist Movements, International Socialistic Cinema, National Freedom Movement, human struggles for survival and above all, fight for the emancipation from servitude and servility -all these acted upon Ritwik's conviction which he incorporated on the silver-screen.
Ritwik Kumar Ghatak was born of Suresh Chandra Ghatak on November 4, 1925 in Dhaka, though the Ghataks were the native of Verenga village in the district of Pabna. Ritwik's initial schooling was at the Mission School in Maymansingh. Later he studied at Ballygunge Govt. High School, Kolkata. He did his graduation from Krishnanath College, Baharampur in 1948. As an honours graduate in English literature, Ritwik was admitted at Calcutta University for M.A. He was tormented by the all-pervasive femine and movements against Fasicism. He left his academic M.A degree unobtained. During this period Ritwik went on with his write-ups in the popular periodicals like "Desh","Sanibarer Chithi","Agrani". In 1948 he acted in a brief role in the play "Nabanna"pilotted by Bijan Bhattachrya.In 1950 he was assistant director to the film "Bedini. based on the novel "Nagini Kannyar Kahini". But the film could not be released for financial crisis. As an independent director he made "Nagarik" in '52 and this debut venture too had the same fate. In 1955 he made his group-theatre, and staged his own play "Sanko"(Dyke) .In 1953, his play "Dalil"won the first prize at the All India IPTA Theatre Exhibitions held in Mumbai. In 1957 with the release of his film "Ajantrik"he made his advent felt and creation appreciated. In 1958 he made "Bari theke Paliye"in which Ritwik displayed the city Kolkata in the eye of a run-away boy. The following year(1959) experienced the magnum opus of Ritwik's film career with "Meghe Dhaka Tara". The film deals with the struggle of a refugee-family, chiefly the elder daughter who shoulders the responsibility of the poverty-trodden family and lays down all personal interests including life and finally when she feels that her days are numbered as a result of consumption she empties her emotions into an outburst, "Dada, Ami Bachte Chai"( Dear brother ! I want to live !). The clarion-cry comes out of helplessness is an excruciating blow on the system. In 1960 Ritwik made "Komal Gandhar"that very much reflects Ritwik's personal life and outlook. But the aftermath of this movie purturbed him pitifully. In 1973 he made "Teetas Ekti Nadir Naam"but the release was held up until March 18, 1991, when the maker was no more.. The film is a tribute to Bangladesh and the people of Bangladesh. "Jukti Takka Gappa" can be called the reflection of Ritwik's troubled-mind. Here, Ritwik is himself the protagonist who finally pours the country-liquor on the camera-lense.
Ritwik made a good number of documentaries of which "Chhou Dance of Purulia","Aamar Lenin", "Ye Kyu", "Indira Gandhi" are some to reckon with. The last documentary he shot was on the famous artist Ramkinkar. The North Bengal University conferred upon him the honouray D. Lit. The golden-stream of his life(Subarnarekha) was blotted up on February 6, 1976.