Bengali star Jisshu Sengupta, who has been a part of a number of Rituparno Ghosh's films, says that post the death of the filmmaker, he feels orphaned.
"Now I've no one too look after me. Right now I feel completely lost. I feel I've lost my friend, philosopher and guide in the truest sense. Rituda was my parents after I lost my father and mother," said Jisshu, who worked with the filmmaker in "Shob Charitro Kalponik" and "Noukadubi".
"After Rituda's father passed away, there were only a few people he listened to. I was one of them. He was also very close to my wife Nilanjana. We used to meet every day. But in the last six months I had some problems in my office, so I couldn't meet him every day. But I'd SMSed him constantly, make sure he took his medicines, etc. In fact, I was ready to direct him in a script that I had written by the end of this year. Now, this has happened..."
The multiple National Award winning film maker died of heart attack on May 30. He was 49.
Jisshu owes his career to his surrogate father.
"Rituda taught me everything I know about acting. Before I met him, I was just doing films for the heck of it," he said.
Talking about "Chitrangda", he added: "It was an honour for me to work with Rituda as a co-actor in 'Chitrangda'. I got the opportunity to help him with his camera range, lighting, etc...things that I had slightly better knowledge of. He knew he could trust this son of his. The equation between us had changed from director-actor to co-actors in 'Chitrangda'. And I made sure I was there to guide him. I became more confident as an actor after this experience."
In fact, Jisshu signed Anurag Basu's "Barfi!" at Rituparno's behest.
"I didn't sign any film without consulting him. And if he told me not to, I excused myself from doing that film. He was my guardian and mentor," said the actor.
"He was instrumental in turning me and my wife into producers. When Star India approached him for a chat show, he agreed on condition that I was made the producer. I shared my dream with him of becoming a producer and he made my dream come true," he added.
Jisshu was holidaying in Thailand when the filmmaker died.
"In a way I am happy I didn't see him dead. I will remember him the way I saw him last... laughing, screaming, scolding and caring...I met him a week before he passed away. I was supposed to get the television rights of 'Bhyomkesh...' (the film version of which Ritu completed before his death). We bantered over that project and parted. I left for Thailand. Little did I know that I'd never see him again."