Ghosh directed about 20 feature films in the Bengali language, mostly dealing with the dilemmas of India's urban middle class.
Ghosh shot to fame with his first film, "Hirer Angti," or "The Diamond Ring" in 1994. Then followed a string of movies that earned him 12 national film awards, including for best director.
His 2007 creation, "The Last Lear," was in English and centered on a retired actor who is persuaded to return to cinema to reprise the lead role in a production of Shakespeare's "King Lear." Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan starred in the film, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival.
Ghosh's films earned critical acclaim at several international film festivals including in Locarno, Switzerland and in London.
Shekhar Kapur, director of the 1998 Academy Award-winning period film "Elizabeth," tweeted that he was "shocked by the passing of Rituparno Ghosh." He described Ghosh as a "hugely creative explorer on film." Indian character actress Kiran Kher said Ghosh was a marvelous director and that his death was a "huge loss for Indian cinema."