Mr. Tathagata Banerjee who is an internationally acclaimed documentary film maker, in a candid chat with Sholoana Bangaliana special correspondent Mr. Arnab Bhattacharya spoke at length about his initial days of struggle, his inspirations, his views on many aspects of films as is seen today and about his future projects.
Film Maker Tathagata Banerjee whose passion and profession is cinema hails from a family of teachers where cinema, if not a complete taboo was definitely not a very appreciated form of art that could be taken up as a profession but the young Tathagata who was all enchanted by the majestic world of cinema was definitely destined to become a part of this fraternity.
Cinema became a way of life for the young Tathagata right after Satyajit Ray’s death as that is when he started seriously watching Ray’s retrospectives, the first amongst them being Aparajito. It is Ray’s movies that inspired and in a big way provoked him to start looking at cinema as a wonderful medium of expression of thoughts. Already in love with the idea of storytelling and visualizing, Tathagata hence took to cinema with complete heart and soul.
This undying passion for the art had become a massive obsession for the director by the time he had enrolled for a graduate degree in English (Hons) from Bangabashi College in Kolkata and drawn by this obsession he had even taken the audacious step of skipping an Hons Paper University Examination after watching Ritwik Ghatak’s movie ‘Badi Theke Paliye’ which as he states, was a point of revelation for him.
By the time college was over Mr. Banerjee had made up his mind that it is only cinema that he will dedicate his life to as to add to his passion for the art were the appreciations for his scripts that he was receiving from his peer group which had people like national Award winning short film maker Supriyo Sen whose Documentary ‘The Nest’ is still held in high regard by short film makers from around the world. Therefore, post college Tathagata straight went to the Film School Chitrobani in order to hone his skills as a director. Interestingly enough, though Tathagata himself had consciously made an effort to enroll into a film school he candidly says “Film Schools cannot make directors as a director is born. Such schools are only good for people who need the technical know-how of cinema in order to understand the finer nuances of the art”.
With all the knowledge, seasoning and resources Tathagata had acquired till his Film School days, he with his three friends made a short film called “Wait Until Death” which received certificates of appreciation from National and International Film Festivals like Mumbai International Film Festival ( MIFF), Trivandrum International Short and Documentary Film Festival, Kolkata International Film Festival, Beijing Film Festival and such others.
All the appreciation for his work That Tathagata Banerjee received from such important film festivals only strengthened his resolve of diving deeper into the world of cinema and with this strong determination started the young Tathagata’s struggle for existence and recognition in the world of cinema.
After spending about two years in Delhi working with veterans like National Award winning actress Suhasini Mulay, Tathagata Banerjee set foot in Kolkata and after a lean period of about two years got his first break as a director of a music video album for Bangla Band Shomoy. Post this; Tathagata was the Captain of the Ship for popular albums of singers like Nachiketa, Sudesh Bhonsle and even the evergreen Bappi Lahiri.
With a portfolio that was becoming impressive by the day, Mr. Banerjee made a foray into the world of television and till date has to his credit some of the highest TRP telefilms aired on popular Bengali Television Channels like Tara, Zee Bangla (then called Alpha Bangla), Aakash Bangla, ETV Bangla and Star Jalsha. Tathagata Banerjee is currently working on some interesting scripts to eventually take a plunge into mainstream commercial and these projects are expected to materialize within a few months from now.
Tathagata Banerjee, for whom cinema has been a way of life ever since, is also a great actor and was last seen in Parambrata Chatterjee’s directorial debut ‘Jiyo Kaka’ where he had played the role of a cinematographer and had also played the role of a snob designer in the film ‘Ghente Ghaw’ by Neel Mukherjee which is yet to release. Tathagata Banerjee will once again be seen in a mainstream cinema by director Aniket Chatterjee which has been christened ‘Janla Diye Bou Palalo’, which as is evident from the name is a comedy where Mr. Banerjee will be seen as the funny man.
Tathagata Banerjee, who has even been complimented by the gorgeous and sexy Nandana Sen for his style of narration, has also recently made four short films that are in different stages of completion. These short films have been discussed in great detail with Mr. Arnab Bhattacharya and the same is available for reference in the sound recording given below:
Having had the exposure to different film industries from across the world, Mr. Banerjee feels that in order to take Bangla Cinema to a global platform as was the scenario before, there has to be an increased sense of professionalism in the industry here. An ardent fan of Ray and Ghatak but a strict non-believer of any set school of acting, Mr. Tathagata Banerjee has set out to make a mark for himself in the film industry and we sincerely hope that his undying passion and love for the art of cinema fetches him global recognition and undisputed glory.
Interview By Arnab Bhattacharya:
Mr. Arnab Bhattacharya is a multi-talented television artist who brings with him 14 years of industry experience and expertise in the feilds of theater, poetry and acting. Mr. Bhattacharya has acted in popular Bangla serials like Crime Diary (ETV Bangla), Sati (Zee Bangla), Bhasha (Star Jalsha), Ishti Kutum (Star Jalsha) and is currently essaying the role of Chapal Bhairagi in one of ETV Bangla’s most popular serials Hiyar Majhe.
Arnab’s filmography includes short films like Sando Da, Magic, Calcutta -16 and a full length feature film Teen Kahon by Boudhayan Mukherjee.