Debutant director Srijon Bardhan’s film Postmaster was showered with positive response from the audience at the recently held Delhi Film Festival. The film was shown alongwith films like Rajkahini and Teenkahon. Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent caught up with the spirited debutant director to speak about his new film Postmaster. Read on…
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana- This is your debut film. Why did you pick Tagore’s short story to begin your journey in films?
Srijon Bardhan- I first read the short story Postmaster when I was in school. It had an impact on my mind and I decided that when I will make my first film, this will be the story on which I will make the film. Tagore was a genius and I do not have to elaborate on that. But I thought why not try and add something to the story so as to make the story sufficient for making a full length feature film. I could not have worked on any other project had I not made this film. Hence, I decided to go on with this film before actually planning to make any other film.
Satyajit Ray made a film on this same story many years ago. Was this adding of details to the original story your conscious effort to avoid comparison with the film made by Ray?
Srijon Bardhan- This is an adaptation of Tagore’s story. Yes, this is true that I did not want to compete with the film made already by Ray. Ray made the film on the original story and that has been watched and appreciated by the audience. Had I made on the same story, what new was I offering them? Instead I took the basic storyline and added more details to it, making the story compatible for making a full length feature film. With this approach, the audience will be able to see the difference in my approach in treating the story.
Can you throw some light on the story of the film?
Srijon Bardhan- Nanda Sen is the local post master in the village of Plassey. His only companion at the village is an orphan girl Ratna who works as his domestic help. Nanda falls in love with Ratna due to her simplicity. Going against the wishes of his father Raghab Sen, he decides to start a family with Ratna. Things take a turn when he is called to meet his father at his death bed. He emotionally blackmails Nanda to leave Ratna (who is pregnant with his child) and marry the girl of his choice. He goes back to the village where Ratna delivers a baby boy. He is troubled by his father’s last wish and his new duties. He leaves a letter by Ratna’s side and goes away. Later we see Anirban visiting Nanda in hospital to deliver his mother’s last letter. Nanda feels the surge of repentance and dies. This is what the story all about.
So the audience will get to see a new story of the Postmaster with this film?
Srijon Bardhan- Yes, the story has been made lengthy but the essence is that of Tagore. That will be very much evident to the audiences. The Platonic love which Tagore wrote did well in those times. But in today’s time that would have become dramatic. Hence I have used bold romance and tragedy. Ratna and Nanda’s life has been shown in details which was not present in the actual story.
You have also composed the music of this film. Tell us something about it….
Srijon Bardhan- Whatever music the Bengali film watching audience has been exposed to in the last ten to fifteen years, I promise that my film’s music will be refreshing for them. There are two Tagore songs in the film namely Tomai gaan shonabo and Dui hridoyer nodi. I did a lot of research on the song Dui hridoyer nodi which is not so commonly sung or heard of. An unpublished poem of Tagore has also been given the form of a song in the film. There is a folk song too. The songs in the film are linked very much to the film. It is not as if the song jumps in suddenly and the audiences can take the time then to buy popcorns or cold drinks.
The songs in my film help in carrying forward the film. The songs will describe two or three scenes and hence one will not be able to miss them. For many years, this kind of music has not happened in Bengali films. Anwesha, Malobika Brahma, Dibakar Das Baul and even I have sung in this film.
Why did you select Ishaan and Pujarini for the lead roles?
Srijon Bardhan- The budget was shoe string and I could not afford stars for my film. Moreover, I wanted good actors who will portray the characters well. Taking a star means that the character will take a backseat. However, taking good actors mean that the characters will shine in the film. Pujarini may have acted in a few films but still she is a new comer. But I am highly impressed with her performance. She acted very maturely in the film. Ishaan also did a good job. We had actually done a one month workshop before the film’s shooting and that helped them.
What was the response that you got when your film was shown at the Delhi Film Festival?
Srijon Bardhan- The response was good. There were many foreign directors and audience who despite not knowing Bengali appreciated my film. Many even could not read the subtitle, yet they loved it. That feels great.
What are your expectations from this film and from the audience in Bengal?
Srijon Bardhan- The film has got rave reviews outside. I hope that the audience in Bengal will love the film. This is the perfect film where intellectual ideas are balanced with entertainment quotient. Music is also good. There is no reason as to why the audience will dislike the film.
The film Postmaster is slated for release in May. Wishing the debutant director “All the Best” and hoping the film gathers enough acclaim in Bengal too!!
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.