Sholoana Bangaliana: Let us first start with your journey into films; how and when did the love affair with cinema start?
Anubrata Dutta: Basically I am an engineer and have completed my studies from Nagpur and films were never in my radar as am more of a corporate guy. Films were however always there at the backdrop as I always enjoyed watching films of all kinds; so fuelled by this love for the art I actually thought of making one on my own. And then once I had decided that this is what I want to do I started doing m groundwork; met many directors, visited sets to learn the nuances of the art; spoke to people from the industry and did a lot of reading on the subject.
After your studies, you always had an option of going to Mumbai to start your career in films, why did you choose to come to Kolkata and into the Bengali film industry?
The simple and only answer to this is, because I love Kolkata, Bengali and everything related to this language and culture.
Coming to your debut film, BhootAdbhoot, please tell us more about the concept and story?
BhootAdbhoot as people may be presuming is not a ghost story; it has two stories woven together. The first half called Bhoot starring Sabyasachi Chakroborty and others still has some ghostly affairs per say but the second half is called Adbhoot and it revolves around the question whether ghosts really exist or not.
Why did you select a ghost story as your debut film? Is it due to popular choice or do you have a personal liking for the genre?
There was no a conscious choice to make a film on ghosts. Just that the scripts appealed to me and I decided to take them up.
Did you have prior industry experience before trying your hand at film making?
No, I did not have any prior experience. I wanted to be a director and hence I became involved with this art and did all my homework to learn the nuances of the trade.
Can you throw some light on one of the important characters played by Paran Bandopadhyay in the film?
You see the story is itself the main hero and there are many characters which are also equally important, including the one played by Paran Bandopadhyay.
In our last coverage of the shooting of your film, Paran Bandopadhyay himself mentioned that he is a regular in most ghost movies. Why did you select him for the role?
Well, I am a big fan of Paran Bandopadhyay and the character in the film demanded an actor of his stature and even appearance.
How was the experience of working with Paran Bandopadhyay?
Well it was a great experience. The day he gave his first shot it was a wonderful moment for me personally. He is a keen and smart actor. He thinks twice before acting. He modifies his character presentation as the character progresses.
Being a newbie in the industry and that too this young, how did you handle such an experienced cast consisting of the likes of Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabyasachi Chakraborty?
Honestly, when I started working with them I was jittery. They are so experienced and most importantly are thorough professionals which makes working with them all the more a delight.
Coming back to the plot of the film, you mentioned that there is an element of psycho-analysis. Can you elaborate on that aspect of the film?
The second story Adbhoot relates the story of the character played by Paran da in the film. He sees an image which looks exactly like him. Scared and at his wit’s end, he engages a team of paranormal experts to resolve the issue. However few days after engaging the team he is slapped by the image. The question my film raises is ghosts do not assault people. Then is the image a ghost as Paran da’s character claims it to be?
What was the criterion for the selection of the actors? Were these stalwarts selected to encash upon their established positions in the industry or was the selection made solely according to the script of the film?
Well, when I was making the selection, the predominant thought in my mind was to make the selection as per the needs of the script. The names or the stature of the actors was not the criterion. I was not influenced by the element of awe surrounding these actors.
Now about the music of your film- what role did you play in shaping up the music of the film or what contributions if any did you make towards it?
The music was solely dependent on my vision of the film and how the film will progress. I had told the music directors about the kind of music I wanted from the film. Where there is an element of tension, the music will be different from those that support romantic moments.
Your two music directors live seven seas apart; Pritam is from Kolkata and Arnab is from Canada; how did you connect with the two?
Pritam is more of a classical musician. Arnab is into Western Classical music. I thought the confluence of the two genres will be interesting for the music of my debut film. Also, since both of them are my very good friends, working together was great fun.
Do you have any personal interest in music?
I am not an active musician. But I love listening to music. I love melodious songs.
What are the entertaining factors in your film which will appeal to the audience?
Elements of romance and comedy prevail in the film. Good cinematography and great open spaces will also appeal to the audience.
Going by the recent trend in the industry, do you have an item song in the film, if not were you not asked to incorporate one by your producers?
I did not feel the need for such a song in the film and hence there is no such number. My producers were also supportive and comfortable with my decision.
How will you define your film?
Well, firstly I really do not believe in this system of classifying films into genres but If I have to, I would say that my film will fall in the genre of thriller. Anyone who likes a thriller will enjoy my film.
Who is your target audience?
Everyone who loves a good storyline will love the film. It will also appeal to thriller lovers.
Apart from Bhoot Adbhoot, what is the next project that you are working on?
I am working on a film, the working title of which is Chaar Kahini. The film has four different stories held together by a common thread. There are few others too that I am working on and hope to present them soon.
Making it big behind the camera; any plans of ever coming in front of one?
No not at all. I love to be and shall continue to be behind the camera and keep making films.
Apart from films what else do you do; what are your hobbies?
Well, apart from films I also write and my novel which is a fiction is going to come out next year.
What is your novel all about; can we find any hints of personal experience in the book?
It’s a fictional work in English; a love story gone bad and a fiction remains purely fiction with no personal references.
Alright, so you are into making films and writing; all creative stuff, so what’s with the engineering degree? Have you also taken Srijit Mukherji’s root of denouncing a good career to make Bengali films?
Well no, I have an engineering firm that makes stuff and I am not denouncing anything. I do not feel that people cannot have multiple careers and excel in them. If you want to do something, you will do it no matter what.
As a young film maker who is about to make his debut soon, what is your analysis of the Bengali film industry and what message do you have for the Bengali film audiences?
Bengali cinema has its own place in the world. There are very good directors and they are making as well as are capable of presenting great stuff. Just for instance, look at the success rate of films like Chotushkone, I myself did not get the tickets at first attempt and had to go back the second day to watch the film. Moreover, the audience today is very well informed and has access to a lot of different kind of films so the benchmark and levels of comparison have increased but then again Bengali cinema is at par with that made in any other region or country and is equally appreciated.
I would only like to tell the audience that they should go to the halls in large numbers and watch Bengali films and make us all proud.
At barely 25, Anubrata Dutta has over three Bengali films, a novel and an engineering firm in his kitty. Surely an eligible bachelor, this young director is definitely one to watch out for. Sholoana Bangaliana wishes him the Very Best in all that he does!
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