What was the inspiration behind the concept of New Kolkata Bangla movie Rupkatha Noy?
In deciding on the theme for any fictional work, I always rely on impulse that comes suddenly – almost like a flash. In “Rupkatha Noy” it was just a casual occurrence that trigged the birth of the plot. One late afternoon, walking past Vivekananda Park, I saw a young woman talking quite impatiently to an old man. Somehow I felt she was in some deep crisis, narrating her tale to an absolute stranger. And that served as the germ of the story ! Infact, in the film, we do have an identically similar scene and Soumitra Chatterjee and Radhika Apte play the two characters.
Your last two movies were centered on some critical aspects of human psychology, is Rupkatha Noy based on similar a subject?
In Rupkatha Noy, five young people are driven by primal human instincts – to ESCAPE, find THRILL, seek REVENGE or wait for DESTINY. And an old man played by Soumitra Chatterjee is trying to touch upon their lives. So, the introspection into the mind and its complexities do figure at one level because each of the five young people is going through some crisis in their life. But here I rely more on the scheme of peculiar events that drive these people towards their destiny. The characters are colourful, the events are exciting and the story unfolds in a very absorbing manner. So I have tried to go beyond what I have done so far.
Sri. Soumitra Chattopadhyay is playing the lead in this movie. What was your experience of working with the veteran?
This is my fourth work with Soumitra Chatterjee after telefilms Asamapto and Ankush and ofcourse my debut feature film, Angshumaner Chhobi. He is always remarkable in roles that demand something unconventional. Whenever he is into such roles, he loves to experiment with expressions or physical movement or even voice acting. Since he is a director’s actor, he always devises his acting strategy based on the structure the director has formulated. In Rupkatha Noy, he goes for some sudden change of expression, which would take the audience by surprise. And that has provided another layer of uniqueness to the character. I feel, our generation of directors is really fortunate that we got an opportunity to work with this legend who should be regarded as one of the finest performers of all times.
Gourab Chakraborty and Sohini Sarkar have important roles to play in this New Kolkata Bangla movie and Sohini can almost be called a new comer in the industry. Tell us something about your experience of working with the newbie?
Actually, casting is entirely dictated by the demands of the character. Usually, I create a profile of the character and then I scout for faces and personalities that would match the requirements. Ofcourse, I am very fussy about acting standards and as such I always keep a watch on talented newcomers both on stage and television. I was quite impressed with the spontaneity and charm of Gaurav and Sohini, when they were working in television. Gaurav has done quite a few good films and I particularly liked him in “Laptop”. Both Sohini and Gaurav are naturally gifted, sincere and have a genuine passion for acting. Besides, Nina Chakraborty is another talented newcomer who plays the role of a petrol pump girl in Rupkatha Noy. I strongly believe, all of them have a very bright future ahead.
What was the reason behind bringing back Radhika Apte. Were you not able to find someone from within Tollywood who would be fit for the role? Is Radhika playing the role of a Bengali girl?
As I told you, in casting, I rely mostly on the demands of a character. And sometimes the demands are such that you have to look beyond the local arena. Ofcourse, options may be available, and I always explore that. But many other impediments may prop up, like, for example, the chosen artist may not find the role exciting enough to accept, or you may not get the dates, or the budget may fall short of the remuneration of the chosen artist, etc etc. And all said and done, sometimes you might even be looking for an uncommon face. For instance, in ‘Angshumaner Chhobi’, I wanted Angshuman to be someone who has not been seen before. The character Radhika plays in Rupkatha Noy has a dreaded past and it unsettles her present. It demanded an actress with a strong personality, wide range of expressions and a pair of eyes, profound and intense. I thought Radhika was just right for the role and I liked her performance in ‘Raktacharitra’. In our film, her name is Sananda Roychowdhury and her features perfectly fit in with the image of a Bengali girl.
Though you have worked with Kaushik Sen in many small screen shows before, this is the first time you have cast him in a movie. Tell us something about your experience of working with Mr. Sen?
Kaushik Sen is one actor with whom I have worked over and over again. Only Indrani (Halder) comes close in that respect ! One of the most brilliant theatre producer and director of our generation, Kaushik acts by his intellect and effortlessly blends spontaneity and intuition with that. In Rupkatha Noy, I put him under enormous stress as he had to write long Calculus formulas on the blackboard as a teacher of Mathematics ! That is quite an arduous task for a student of the Arts stream. But Kaushik always comes prepared, thoroughly conversant with the entire script, and lends a unique sharpness and intensity to any role. Besides, he has got a huge female fan following ! Lets see how they find him in our film.
Tell us something about the music of the film. Are the songs expected to be the prime attraction of the movie or just like your previous ventures, your focus will be more on the content?
Unless it is a musical, I believe there should be proper justification for use of song in a sequence. And songs should be embedded within the structure of the script. They should not serve as additional items disconnected with the fabric of the film. In our childhood, when smoking was more prevalent, use of songs in films often served as cigarette breaks for most males in the audience. In Rupkatha Noy, the songs do have a designed role. They come at strategic points serving as a bridge between some events, or providing a musical backdrop to a collage of scenes or underlining the emotional impact of some sequences. I think both the music director and lyricist have very important roles because their work decides whether music makes or mars the impact of the film. It is left for the audience to judge but as a director, I feel Joy Sarkar (music director) and Suchandra Chowdhury (lyricist) have done justice to each of the songs in Rupkatha Noy. They are strikingly different from each other in terms of genre, maintain a strong connection with the plot and create the desired impact. The songs are rendered by Shilajit Majumdar, Lopamudra Mitra, Rupankar, Anwesha and Raghav Chatterjee.
Sanjeeb Banerji takes a keen interest in both Old and Contemporary/modern Bengali literature and cinema and have written several short stories for Bengali Little magazines. He also runs a little magazine in Bangla, named – Haat Nispish, which has completed its 6th consecutive year in the last Kolkata International Book Fair. Being the eldest grandson of Late Sukumar Bandopadhaya, who was the owner of HNC Productions and an eminent film producer cum distributor of his time (made platinum blockbusters with Uttam Kumar, like “Prithibi Aamarey Chaaye”, “Indrani” and several others), Sanjib always nurtured an inherent aspiration of making it big and worthy in the reel arena. He has already written few screenplays for ETV BANGLA.
Sanjib can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org