Interview: Director Arindam Dey aka Mamdo Da on his Upcoming Bengali Film ‘Kokhon Tomar Asbe Telephone’ and the Evolving Taste of Bengali Cine Goers



Director Arindam Dey, who the Bengali Film Fraternity lovingly addresses as Mamdo Da is ready with his New Bengali Film ‘Kokhon Tomar Asbe Telephone’ starring Arjun Chakroborty and Debutant Sneha. Team Sholoana Bangaliana caught up with the director to know more about his new film and views on the changing taste of Bengali Cine Goers.


Sholoana Bangaliana: You first made your mark as a director of telefilms and have had a successful stint on television post which you ventured into films, please give us a brief insight into your journey as a film-maker till now…

Mamdo Dey: I had decided to take film making as a profession at a very early age. I grew up with paintings since my father was an artist and the first visuals that opened up to my inquisitive child eyes were not just the comic strips. It was also Picasso, Rembrant , Matisse , Van Gogh , Cezanne etc. So I grew up with visuals which were little different from usual, of course there was Tin Tin, Asterix , Mandrek , Mr Walker. I came out from college ( Jadavpur University ) in a time when Bangla cinema was almost a dead thing , so, I started my career with advertising. Then I shifted to television, thanks to the private television channel boom, we survived! I was busy making serials , tele-films and non-fiction programs for almost 10 years, after that I decided to start my own film and stopped working as a director in television and started producing and consulting television programs. At the same time, I started preparing for film and after three years I had gathered confidence to announce my secret wish to the producers and started toying with different ideas for films.

Your debut film ‘Ajab Prem Ebong Ekti Bus er Golpo’ was critically acclaimed but did not do too well commercially, did that in any way have an impact on your perspective on the kind of films you wanted to make?

I learned a lot from Ajob Prem Ebong. It was a film for cine lovers, it has won prizes in festivals in Canada and the U.S. But I think for the general viewers it was much out of ordinary and subtle. Had it been released now, the film would do better. In fact, I became little doubtful about the content of my next film; although it is a general and constant search for the film makers. So I decided to make a children’s film with a brand value. It worked, Goenda Gogol was a hit amongst viewers and that gave me a breathing space to jump into my next experimental thriller, Chayamanush.

As a director do you have any special liking for a specific genre of movies or do you feel that it is eventually the script that matters and not the genre?

I think a film maker should not constrain him or herself to any particular genre, rather; it’s the style that matters. Every maker has his/her own style…mark, to be precise. A maker can only improve the style he/she is comfortable with.

The audience today has evolved and has higher expectations; what is your analysis on the audience taste and content acceptability, as it stands today?

Today’s audience is well exposed to the world cinema. We can see Nolan in Inox etc. But , they expect a certain type of entertainment from us. They never expect that we deliver films like Skyfall or even Salman and Sharukh flicks. They want a well packaged Bangla entertainment with little introspection. Music plays a very important part here. Good melodious songs always carry Bangla films forward.


What kind of homework and ground work do you always do before starting a movie?

As a full time film maker I am always in a process of starting a project. Fortunately I have an office dedicated for creative works. Every day I sit there with my team and develop ideas and stories etc. I always have more than three scripts ready for shooting. Once I get a matching producer I start fine tuning my script. So, it’s a constant process.

Your next film ‘Kokhon Tomar Ashbe Telephone’ is ready for release; please tell us about the story of this film?

It is a romantic comedy. The film starts with a misunderstanding through a phone in the program of our heroin Priyanka, who plays the character of a radio jockey. It is a lucidly narrated linear love story. The film has good songs, romantic moments and comic misunderstandings. It’s a film people can watch and enjoy with family.

Is there an interesting story behind the initiation of this film or was it the usual rigmarole of having a script and then getting a producer and moving on from there?

I was thinking of making a film based on phone in programs for a long time. The time when FM channels started becoming popular… It was in 2006 / 7. But I was not sure whether it would be a thriller or something else. Finally a film on a radio jockey gave me the germ. Based on that small germ I wrote the story in 2009.


KTAT stars newcomer Sneha; why Sneha and what role does she play in the movie?

Sneha plays the role of a radio Jockey . I was looking for a fresh face for this film. I was looking for someone who is not a “Diva “, is rather our next door girl with some special talent. My producer and I started searching for the kind of face and got her after few months.


What role does Arjun Chakroborty play in the movie and what do you have to say about Arjun’s evolution as an actor?

Arjun is playing the role of a car designer cum mechanic, who owns a state of the art garage. He is very close to his friends and 4 of them make a solid group. This young group is very lively, hops in discs , always has fun and is also engaged in serious social works. An intelligent, up market group of friends in nutshell!

Youngsters can already be heard humming the songs from your films, what did you have in mind while planning the feel of the film’s music?

I thought of a music director who is young, energetic and trendy. Dabbu did a wonderful job, so was Deb Sen. This film is a blend of peppy trendy numbers and sweet melodious tunes. The name of the film itself is the refrain of a super hit Bangla song . I also thought of a number which even a teddy bear can sing! Thus, we came up with the sweetest number,’ ek dui tin kore egochhi’…which was sung by Papon.


Can KTAT be branded as a light hearted entertainer or does it have some underlying message to convey to the audience?

It’s a light hearted entertainer.

Why would you say should people come to the theaters to watch ‘Kokhon Tomar Asbe Telephone’?

Because its entertainment, entertainment and entertainment; without anything illogical and crude.

This is your second film with PB Films, the first being Chaya Manush; any particular reason or special bonding why the producers repeated you or you repeated the producers?

I feel comfortable working with P B Films and I think they feel the same too.


Cine Goers are again increasingly steering away from watching Bengali Films, as a member of and on behalf of the Bengali film fraternity, any special message for the audience?

I will plea them to judge films by watching it personally and support our industry, because tomorrow you will feel proud of the products we are making and who knows your son or daughter could be a part of this industry in future.

Which are your upcoming projects that we can look forward to?

I am planning three films for next year. I might end up filming one or two.

Team Sholoana Bangaliana wishes director Arindam Dey aka Mamdo Da the Very Best for his Friday Release ‘Kokhon Tomar Asbe Telephone’ and sincerely hopes that he can continue to scale the heights of success without any hindrance!


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