India woke up to a heartbreaking piece of news today: Bengali author Suchitra Bhattacharya died of a cardiac arrest this morning at the age of 65. The recipient of many awards and accolades, Bhattacharya wrote over 24 novels and numerous short stories. Her work, mirroring the culture she lived in, focused on the middle class and the state of women in the society. Having started her career in late 70s, and writing about contemporary social issues, Bhattacharya soon became a popular figure in Bengali writing.
Here are some of her books that you should definitely read:
‘Bhanagal Kal’ or ‘Falling Apart’ is centered on two families and the change in their value systems as times change. The central characters who engage in, and turn a blind eye to- less than moral deeds, are portrayed with deep insight by Bhattacharya and show her craftsmanship in creating complex and relatable characters. This is not one of her most popular books but connects to people in a unique way and should definitely be read once.
Dahana, a heart-wrenching story about a rape victim was also made into a movie by Rituparno Ghosh. Based on a real incident that took place in south-Kolkata, Bhattacharya skillfully portrayed the condition of rape victims and the prejudices faced by them. Introducing strong female characters- an abused housewife, a young school-teacher and a grandmother; the author showed the status of women in Bengali urban middle-class.
Another of Bhattacharya’s famous books, Kancher Deowal or the ‘The Wall of Glass,’ which was also made into a film by Anindo Sarkar starring Roopa Ganguly and Adil Hussain- is about the separation of a couple and it’s after effects. In a society completely dominated by men, the author engages deeply with the emotional turmoil all the characters in the book face and the central character’s changing relationships with each of them.
A story about a mother and her daughter, Kacher Manush, portrays the central character as liberated woman who doesn’t fit in the patriarchal mold of the society. Indrani, the central character is a married woman and has a child outside her marriage. A sexually liberated female, she deals with men in her life who are emotionally dependent on her and is one of the strongest and independent female characters created by Bhattacharya.
[Featured Picture Courtesy: ABP Live]
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