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Indian filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh has died from a heart attack at the age of 49 in the city of Calcutta.

Award-winning director Rituparno Ghosh was suffering from pancreatitis for the last couple of weeks and died on Thursday morning.

Debuting with his 1994 film Heerer Angti (The diamond ring), Rituparno Ghosh made many critically acclaimed films like Unishe April (19 April), Chokher Bali (Sand in the eye) and Abohoman (The eternal).


He won several national and international awards for his work.

Rituparno Ghosh was well known for his realistic depictions of interpersonal relationships and urban-educated middle class angst.

The filmmaker worked with several big stars of Bengali cinema and Bollywood stars like Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai.

Indian filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh has died from a heart attack at the age of 49 in the city of Calcutta

Indian filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh has died from a heart attack at the age of 49 in the city of Calcutta

Rituparno Ghosh also acted in some of his films, including in Aar Ekti Premer Golpo (Just another love story) and Chitrangada.

His 2003 film Chokher Bali was awarded the Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival and his last film, Chitrangada, won a special jury award in the 2012 national film awards.

Two days ago, Rituparno Ghosh wrote on Twitter that he had finished shooting his latest film Satyaneshi – based on the legendary Bengali detective fictional character, Byomkesh Bakshi.

As news of his death spread, several actors and actresses arrived at his home to pay their respects.

“I cannot believe that Rituparno is no more. It is very difficult to accept this news. We lost a very promising film director at a very early age,” the Press Trust of India quoted veteran actor Soumitra Chatterjee as saying.

Many Indian film personalities and fans took to Twitter to express their grief.

“Shocked by passing of Rituparno Ghosh. He was dreaming of getting into what he called his <<next phase>>. Hugely creative explorer on film,” tweeted director Shekhar Kapur.

“Rituparno Ghosh had great sense of humor. He had a brilliant understanding of human behavior. Will miss him and his cinema. RIP my Friend,” wrote Bollywood actor Anupam Kher.

Noted film critic Rajeev Masand tweeted: “Deeply saddened by passing of Rituparno Ghosh. He understood the human condition with all its complexities and conveyed them with such sensitivity.”

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Indian women have been raised to believe that fairness is beauty, and this has given rise to a vast and ever-growing skin-whitening industry, which is now encouraging women to bleach far beyond their hands and face.

The desire for lighter skin is nothing new in India. For centuries women in South Asia have been raised with the belief that a fairer complexion equates to beauty.

That the industry should reach a new low, excuse the pun, has reopened the age old fairness debate.

Should such products be on sale? Is applying bleach to your skin healthy, and what are the psychological effects on girls who are told they’re only pretty if they’re paler?

For centuries women in South Asia have been raised with the belief that a fairer complexion equates to beauty

For centuries women in South Asia have been raised with the belief that a fairer complexion equates to beauty

But, despite repeated concerns, the lightening industry is booming, and diversifying. One market research firm even reported that more skin lightening creams are sold in India than Coca Cola.

The market, which initially focused on beauty conscious women, is now pitching to men too.

“The first fairness cream that fights sweat” read the large white letters on a bus stop billboard.

It was accompanied by a photo of one of Bollywood’s actors of the moment, John Abraham, his chiselled face promising fragrant fairness to all who buy the product.

If those variants weren’t considered enough, you can also find deodorants for fairer underarms and talcum powders for whiter skin.

Advertisers specializing in this field, must spend hours devising new campaigns for their products.

“Do you think twice before wearing certain clothes because they don’t seem to suit your body’s uneven skin tone?” asked one half-page advert in a respected newspaper.

“Notice how the color of your hands is different to the color of your face?” asked another.

It seems illogical that such prejudices should continue to exist in modern day India, but they do.

One wannabe actress said she failed to get parts in films because directors bluntly told her she was too black.

You only have to look at posters and ads in India to see glamorous Bollywood stars who, thanks to a bit of graphics software, have dramatically lighter skin tones – with others going the whole hog and endorsing the products.

These are the stars who are worshipped by so many in India, and if many of them are complicit too, then it’s fair to assume that this industry will only continue to grow.