Interview: Director Barshali Chatterjee on Upcoming Bengali Film Jenana; A Film that Sets to Explore the Roots of Transgenders and their Struggle for Existence



She is a young, vibrant girl next door. But her approach to making films and the challenge that she took up in her debut film is what sets her apart from the girls of her age. Having assisted in many mega serials in Zee Bangla, Star Jalsa, debutant director Barshali Chatterjee is ready with her film Jenana. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent caught up with the feisty director.

Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana- Congrats on making your debut in Tollywood as a directpr!! Why did you select such a topic for your debut film?

Barshali Chatterjee- There is stiff competition in today’s time in every field. So if you have to make your presence felt and capture the attention of the audience you have to do something different. I want my film to be different and people should recognize Barshali Chatterjee for the films that I have made. Hence, I have tried to make a film on a subject which is different and yes very topical too.


There are a lot of films being made in Tollywood on transgenders. In what aspects is your film different from the other films that we have seen till now?

Barshali Chatterjee- The films that have been made till now showcases the lives of these transgenders. The film makers have tried to establish them to the fullest extent. But what I have tried in Jenana is to show the roots of these individuals. These individuals have four groups- Apua, Jenana, Chinni and Chipri. The Jenanas are those males who become part of this community to earn their livelihood. But they are in no way transgenders in real life. Normally if you ask a man to wear a sari and beg for money, he will slap you. But what is the situation or what are the circumstances which have compelled these individuals to take up this profession. This is what I have shown in this film. Most of us hate these transgenders but after watching the film, there will be a change in attitude of the people towards these people.

For making a film on such a topic, you must have done a good amount of research work. Can you tell us something about how you collected material for making this film?

Barshali Chatterjee- Sitala Ma has helped me in doing the research for this film. She has also acted in this film. I have got a lot of material from her about the Jenanas and I have utilized that during the making of Jenana.


Casting is very important for any film. What did you keep in mind while making the selection of the cast for Jenana?

Barshali Chatterjee- Casting has been done keeping in mind the fact that the actors will have some resemblances with them. I have stayed with them and I am well aware of how they look. I met Shankar da for the first time and I felt he will suit the main role extremely well. For me the face should be relatable and hence I made the selection of Apu da (Saswata Chatterjee). They both are extremely well suited for the roles.

As for Priyanka, we both have similar natures. The story is about the struggle of a director. So I thought she would fit the bill perfectly. For portraying the character of Mala, Sampurna Lahiri was the best choice I could have thought of. Her attitude and her poise suited the role extremely well.

A cliché but yes an important question. What are your expectations from the film?

Barshali Chatterjee- (laughs) Well, I would like to make my mark as a director in Tollywood and I will like the audience to come to the hall to watch this film. Only then will my efforts be properly appreciated.

Wishing the young, budding director loads of luck for her debut film!!



Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.

The information and views set out in this movie review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the Publication/Organization. Neither the Publication/Organization nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.




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