Titas Ekti Nadir Naam
Women and River both Contains Lives: A Review of a "River Called Titas" (Titas Ekti Nadir Naam)
“Flowers bloom by its water, fruits ripen in mysterious ways. They mingle to create such splendor. The cosmic fish resides in the river adding its shimmer to the splendor. But as the poet Lalon says, when the water turns to air the fish will dissolve in the wind…I fear to see the boats aground on the dry river bed…the water of life; flows the story.” (Lalon’s song in Titas Ekti Nadir Naam)
Titas Ekti Nadir Naam sets in Bangladesh in 1973 right after the liberation of Bangladesh (1971). Partition of Bengal happened due to Hindu –Muslim separation by the liberation of two country, India and Pakistan, in 1947. Partition of Bengal has a great influence on Ritwik Ghatak’s every film. If women will die the whole generation become barren; similarly if a river will die the fishes will die and the fishermen become vulnerable, as a result the life of the riverside community will be vulnerable and become barren. The politician uses this motive to destroy the unification of a culture and thus they demolish the culture to get empowerment. In this film Ghatak tries to discover how politics plays a significant role for partitions between a fisherman culture, Malo, and how politician demolish the unity of Malo culture and therefore how river and women suffer for the ununified culture. The movie focuses on river and woman both have the same characteristics of welcoming and sustaining life and Titas Ekti Nadir Naam explores these identities of the river ‘Titas’ and women. Given this preamble, the aim of this easy is, broadly speaking, to interpret Ritwik Ghatak’s film Titas Ekti Nadir Naam, a film that explore how welcoming and sustaining life characteristics of Titas and the women of the society unify the riverside community and the fact of their vulnerable state due to ununified riverside community.
To get into the interpretation on Titas Ekti Nadir Naam, it is necessary to explore about the director Ritwik Ghatak. Ritwik Ghatak born in Dhaka in 1925 in East Bengal. “The Bengal Famine of 1943-44, World War II and finally, the partition of 1947 compelled Ghatak to move to Calcutta where became actively involved in the Indian People’s Theater Association (IPTA) and the Communist Party of India (CPI).” (O’Donnell, 1) Ritwik Ghatak passes through many incidences and these incidences has a large impact on his eight films. Like his every film, Titas Ekti Nadir Naam also has the impact of the partition of Bengal, his Hindu religion (uses of Hindu Goddess for portraying female characters), the melodrama action of Theatre and Marxist views. Again this film based on a novel named “Titas Ekti Nadir Naam” by Advaita Mallabarmana. ‘Mallabarmana’ is the title of fisherman. Advaita Mallabarmana born near the Titas river in Brahmanbaria District in Bangladesh and brought up in a fisherman family and thus the film based in his novel connects with the real fisherman society.
Ritual plays a significant role with women in Titas Ekti Nadir Naam. The film starts with the winter ritual of Maghmandal, when Bashanti rolling the chora (like an umbrella) to prey her future coming husband. It shows that women have an important role in Malo society where a ritual is created only for women. Though it’s true that this ritual does not make the women freedom, it’s make the women believe that women need a husband to live and this ritual prepared the women psychologically to live in petrileneal society. Moreover, in the spring festival women are dancing and man are watching as observer. On the other hand, men are active in the fighting when other village people came to interrupt the festival. These difference roles between man and women makes audience distinguish the role between man and women where women plays the entertainer role and man plays the protector role. Most of the time it is heard in Indian culture that women are forced to marriage a man without knowing and her opinion does not important in the society. However, in this film the contrast image shows that Kishor, the fisherman is forced to marriage due to the girl liked the fisherman. Therefore, the ritual that presented in the film show the importance of the women in a patrilineal society.
Titas and the women of the fisherman society both have the same characteristics of welcoming and sustaining life. In the film, the character, Ramproshad, compares the river and the women to describe the flows of life, “That’s the way it happens dear, the spark of life, then suddenly all is quiet and myriad hues afresh. You were a child yesterday, a woman today. The river Titas flows on, but tomorrow it may be bone dry. It may not even have the last drop without which our soul cannot depart…yet this flock of sails moves on and on…” This quote expresses that women and river both are important for the fisherman life and they both contains life of fisherman. Though there are different ups and down happens in live but life goes on like the “sails moves on and on…” The relationship between women and river also showed when Bashanti walking beside river Titas, her mother said to her, “What magic is there in Titas, to make you admire your reflection?” It shows that Bashanti find her reflection on the river Titas. Moreover, Rajar Jhi welcome Kishor to her life illustrates that women welcome man by attaching their life. Again when Kishor becom mad due to the kidnaping Rjar Jhi by robber demonstrates that women are so important for a fisherman life and they contain their life. On the other hand, Titas always welcome the fisherman to lead their life by fishing without desiring anything and by welcoming the fisherman they consequently contains their life. Therefore, the film explore the characteristic of women and the river Titas who at the same time welcome and contain the life of fisherman.
The united culture of Malo becomes affected by the politicians and thus Titas and women loses their welcoming and sustaining life identity. The Malo society was so strong because they are united. Though all man go for fishing for many days but other society’s man cannot disturb the Malo women due to their unity. Due to their harmony, politician cannot control the society thus they search a betrayer from that society and from the betrayer they came to know to break the unity need to “Divert their attention.” “Get them hooked in theatre. Give them part in a play with dramas, flutes and clarinets.” When they are converted their work and rituals they become diverted from the society and thus they are controlled by the politicians. They are gradually took loan for watching theatre from the politicians and rich people of the village and watch theatre and then they cannot give back money within time. Thus they become ununified. Therefore, Basanty died, some women become prostitute, some of them become mad and so on, and the river become dry. Therefore, the director wants to portraits that due the trap of politics the unity of the culture destroyed and women and river are the most affected for the ununity.
In conclusion, Titas Ekti Nadir Naam portraits the relationship between women and river Titas. Bangladesh is a river based country. Women and river both are important for the society of Bangladesh. Both of then welcome the life and they contain the whole society in their body. Therefore, women and river need to be respect to unify the culture.
Titas Ekti Nadir Naam. Screen played and Directed by Ritwik Ghatak. Ster. Kabari Choudhury, Prabir Mitra. 1973.
O’Donnell, Erin. “Women’ and ‘Homeland’ in Ritwik Ghatak’s film: Constructing post-indipendence Bengali culture identity”. A review of contemporary media, 2005.