Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent spoke with noted Bengali Director Suman Ghosh about the Making of Kadambari, New Bangla Movie that has Konkona Sen Sharma playing the role of Rabibdranath Tagore’s Notun Bouthan Kadambari Devi, Parambrata Chattopadhyay playing the role of the young Rabindranath Tagore, Kaushik Sen playing the role of Jyotirindranath Tagore and Singer Srikanta Acahrya making his acting debut with the role of Satyendranath Tagore. Excerpts:
Sholoana Bangaliana: Why did you choose Kadambari Devi’s life and the associated stories as a topic for your movie?
Suman Ghosh: The story of Kadambari is a very poignant episode of Rabindranath Tagore’s life and has been a great personal tragedy of him too but had been hushed up big time as Bengalis are extremely sensitive about Rabindranath Tagore and his image. This episode of his life, on the flip side, has also been misrepresented and fabricated in more ways than one. All of this along with the narrative that goes with a tragedy makes very good content for a motion picture which motivated me to make this movie. Having said that, making this movie and doing all the research and reading for it literally opened the doors to Thakur Badi for me and I got to know so much about the lifestyle and society of that age.
Sholoana Bangaliana: What literature did you refer to for your research on Kadambari Devi’s life and Thakur Badi?
Suman Ghosh: The screenplay is primarily based on Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Prothom Alo, Mallika Sengupta’s Kobir Bouthan and definitely the poet’s own writings like Chelebela and Jibon Sriti where there is a lot of reference of Kadambari and the poet’s days as a young man along with how Thakur badi was at that time. While the screen play is primarily based on this literature, I also read a lot of Prashanto Kumar Pal’s writings as he has a very authoritative biography on Rabindranath Tagore, Rabindranath’s biography by Prabhat Mukhopadhyay and a quite a lot of Jnanadanandini Devi’s own writings. Konkona also suggested a book called Jorasanko by Aruna Chakravarti published recently in English which also has fantastic description of Thakurbadi and the entire scenario of that time. So from all these resources I gathered all that was necessary for my script.
Sholoana Bangaliana: Can we also expect to see a vivid portrayal of the Brahmo Samaj in the movie Kadambari?
Suman Ghosh : Yes, Brahmo Society as in Thakur Badi.. As it is Kadambari’s story I did not want to venture into the outside socio environment of that time but yes whatever could be shown through Thakurbadi that bit is definitely there.
Sholoana Bangaliana: Why did you select Parambrata Chattopadhyay to play the role of Rabindranath Tagore in the Bangla Movie Kadambari?
Suman Ghosh: Param as I see, is one actor who has a natural flair, is well read and has an erudition that reflects in his body language, looks and mannerisms. Rabindranath Tagore was 22 at the time Kadambari Devi committed suicide as such given the way Param looks and carries himself, he was the ideal choice to play the role of the young Rabindranath. I was but quite skeptical about his looks as Param does not have the eyes of Rabindranath but after the look test pictures came out in the press with a positive response I was quite satisfied with the decision of casting Param.
Sholoana Bangaliana: How has your experience of working with Konkona Sen Sharma been so far?
Suman Ghosh: Konkona is indeed a phenomenal actress but what impressed me most is the fact that while most actors of her stature would miss out on the homework bit which must be done in order to prepare for a role, she did her homework and prepared for the role with utmost sincerity. Not just script reading, we had a lot of discussions here as well as in Mumbai and this collaboration was the most enjoyable part of working together. She is a wonderful person to work with and is very co-operative on the sets too. Not just this, while working with her there is always a lot of fruitful exchange of ideas and suggestions which makes working together all the more enjoyable and I am just loving the experience.
Sholoana Bangaliana: Kadambari’s husband Jyotirindranath Tagore who is primarily known for his irresponsible behavior towards personal relationships was also a very talented person.. So which phase and shade of his character have you portrayed in the movie?
Suman Ghosh : A character that can be portrayed well in cinema is a blend of all such shades and qualities and yes as you rightly mentioned he was indeed very talented but in a sense very insensitive towards personal relationships too. Etching out these qualities while writing a script is one of the biggest challenges and I thoroughly enjoyed working on this portrayal.
Sholoana Bangaliana: Please tell us something about the music of Kadambari and your reasons for choosing Bickarm Ghosh as the music director of the film?
Suman Ghosh: Given the kind of music that can go with this movie, the choice of Bickram Ghosh as the music director for Kadambari was quite obvious. I feel, Bickram Da is a lot like me as, while he ventures out into different territories doing fusion music and such experimental stuff, his foundation is based on classical music. For the music of Kadambari I needed somebody with a modern sensibility and a strong classical base which Bickram Ghosh definitely has, thus making him my obvious choice. Moreover, he gives me that space and choice to candidly speak out loud and ask for alternatives and something better. In spite of being such a big name, he is very comfortable to work with and we had worked together even in my last movie Nobel Chor, so the comfort level was quite high.
While the audience had expected that Suman Ghosh’s movie Ringtone starring Arpita Chatterjee and Parambrata Chatterjee (Initially Prasenjit Chatterjee had been cast opposite his wife Arpita) will be his next blockbuster right after Nobel Chor, Kadambari comes in as a pleasant surprise (owed to Param and Konkona’s schedules) and we hope that with Kadambari, director Suman Ghosh will be able to take the audience of Bengal into the precincts of the much revered Thakur Badi for a sneak-peek into the lives of Bengal’s idol Rabindranath Tagore and his immediate family.