Mr. Sanjib Banerji, the writer and creative director of the highly acclaimed Bengali Film Sesh Anka spoke with Sholoana Bangaliana about the experience of seeing his first film shape up into such a huge success and his upcoming projects. Excerpts…
Sholoana Bangaliana: Your very first film as the script writer and creative director has done exceedingly well at the box office; so what does it feel like?
Sanjib Banerji: Certainly it is a fantastic feeling! But then again hit flop and such things are very clichéd and are very relative terms. The audience response that I am getting is very positive, inspiring and encouraging and that is my actual reward. All the leading dailies have given us fabulous scores and even on IMDB we are trending pretty well.
I would really like to thank the audience for such confidence in my work and appreciating Sesh Anka. My heartfelt thanks also goes to my director Mr. Tathagata Banerjee as, though the story and script is mine, it is actually Mr. Banerjee’s vision that has translated into this full length feature film. I would also like to thank the film’s DOP Mr. Supriyo Dutta and the editor Mr. Sujoy Dutta Ray as they too have worked relentlessly to give Sesh Anka its final shape.
I would also like to share the success with the entire team of Sesh Anka and most importantly Mr. Pradip Churiwal. I rather dedicate this film to Mr. Churiwal as without him Sesh Anka would never have taken shape. He believed in us and the story and supported us throughout and we shall always be grateful to him.
So, Mr. Banerji, now that your first film is a hit and you are an established script writer, what next?
Actually, owed to the kind of characters we had in Sesh Anka, especially the lawyer Mr. Pranoy Dasgupta, the spy John Braganza and ACP Prithviraj, there is a huge demand for a franchise. However, my director and I have decided that at least for the next two years, we shall not think on those lines as that would be very predictable.
The next film that we are working on, is taking shape and we have just finished the first draft. For Sesh Anka we had to make 7 drafts and I hope for this we will not have to slog as much. We are again counting on Macneill to back us up and I can only say that it is going to be a complete surprise. Cannot reveal much now but yes can assure the Sholoana Bangaliana readers that whenever there is news, they will be the first to hear it.
Seems like the next film is also about to be a thriller. So, are you only going to write such stories or can we also expect to see some romcoms coming out of your kitty?
No not that, I am writing and going to write all kinds of stories and scripts. I have about two stories ready with me, one is a musical and another romantic drama; there is also a comedy that can be immediately made into a film if we get the right team.
Unfortunately, I cannot say which one can you expect next as it all depends on getting the right team.
However, I would also like to say that now that thrillers are definitely doing well in the market, our next would in all probabilities be another thriller. More so because we are hoping to work with Macneill for this film too and Mr. Churiwal as an individual certainly loves thrillers.
But I am not going to restrict myself to thrillers only. You will certainly get to see films with a lot of romance, music and drama. Just waiting for the right time!
What are the key takeaways from your first film?
I have certainly learnt a lot about film making and working with Mr. Tathagata Banerjee is in itself a wonderful learning experience. Watching Mr. Supriyo Dutta, Mr. Sujoy Dutta Ray and Mr. Tathagata Banerjee at work can also be called a film making workshop in totality. These people are just too good at their work and most importantly are technically sound.
So, is all this learning shaping up the director Sanjib Banerji who is going to direct a film soon?
Yes, I want to direct a film but certainly not now as there is still a lot to learn. I am still learning the nuances of team management from Mr. Tathagata Banerjee and I must say his cool composure and patience is something that a good director must have. I am also learning about various technicalities of film making and unless I feel that I am ready to handle all aspects, I would not try to create a half-baked product.
I am from the advertising world and that is my forte, so once I learn the other aspects I would certainly try my hands at directing a film.
As a member of the Bengali Film fraternity, any message for the audience?
Yes, I would like to request the audience to steer away from piracy and avoid buying those hall print DVDs available on road side stalls. Not only do these pirated copies mar the efforts of the complete team, they also spoil the entire film viewing experience and I would again and again request the audience to discourage piracy.
I would also like to say that Tollywood needs new concepts. People often say that Tollywood lacks originality and I would like to see that notion change over time and that can only happen when new film makers come up with new concepts. There is certainly Srijit and Kaushik Ganguly but the industry needs more of such people. Srijit’s Rajkahini looks just wonderful and am sure Vaastu Shaanp is also shaping up beautifully; just that we have to see more of such films being made.
There was a time when Bengali films used to get international recognition for their innovation and novel concepts and I would like to see the same era coming back. I also feel that the audience needs to become a little more matured and appreciate different kinds of content.
Therefore, it has to be a cumulative effort that can revive the Bengali film industry and give it the due international and most importantly national recognition.
The conversation with Mr. Sanjib Banerji was very enriching and we wish him the Very Best for his Future Endeavors!