Every morning my wake up tweet to the world is – Good Morning! What is your food and travel story today? But for the last few blogposts, it has been film posters. Not ordinary film posters, but Bnegali film posters… director’s notes and so many uncut shots from the movie locations. no change of profession… just a bit of shout out for the Bengali film festival that’s happening over the weekend, from the 5th-7th February, 2015 at the Knowledge Village. The last minute panicking and checklists have already started for the organisers of ‘Abhijaan 2015′, the 2nd Bengali Film Festival Dubai. My objective has been to introduce the films that are being screened with some behind-the-shot stories and thoughts from the Directors themselves. The film festival showcases 7 Bengali films with English subtitles – Chotushkone (Srijit’s Mukherji’s masterpiece thriller, starring stalwarts like Aparna Sen, Chiranjeet Chakraborty, Goutam Ghose, Kaushik Ganguly, Parambrata Chatterjee), Teenkahon (Bauddhayan Mukherji’s debut directorial venture starring Rituparna Sengupta, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Sabyasachi Chakrabarty, Suman Mukhopadhyay, Ashish Vidyarthi), Byomkesh Phire Elo (Directed by Anjan Dutt, starring Abir, Saswata, Usashi), Bharate (directed by Anindya Ghosh, starring Rituparna Sengupta, Arunima Ghosh), 89 (directed by Manoj Michigan starring Saswata Chatterjee, Raima Sen and Shataf Figar), Ebar Shobor (directorial venture of Arindam Sil, starring Swastika, Saswata, Abir) and Ek Fali Rod (directed by Atanu Ghosh… starring Dhritiman Chatterji, Ritwik, Aparajita). While more info and snippets of the movies can be found in Facebook, grab your tickets now from platinumlist.net/tickets & itp.net/tickets.
— #Abhijaan2015 (@AbhijaanBFF) February 3, 2015
— Ishita B Saha (@IshitaUnblogged) February 4, 2015
Talking to ‘Ek Phali Rodh’ Director Atanu Ghosh…
THE POWERHOUSE CAST: Never before, I had so many of my favourite actors working together, as in Ek Phaali Rodh. Since I became a filmbuff, I longed to see Dhritiman Chaterji on screen. Pratidwandi, Jodubangsha, Aakalaer Sandhane, Kaahini and many others had such a lasting impression. As we got introduced, his brilliant mind and wide interests left me charmed and I was elated when he agreed to play the social scientist. For his young researcher, I needed someone with enormous flexibility and Ritwik Chakraborty was the perfect option. Quite sensational, Ritwik lends a unique edge to a character using his reactionary power, sharp intellect and improvising skill. Rarely, we come across such actors who can work wonders with a combination of intuitive skills. Now, Ritwik needed a working partner to create ‘mock’ crisis on the streets. And I was lucky I did not have to step out of Ritwik’s house to find her! Aparajita Ghosh Das combines effortless ease with fluid expressions, and the remarkable chemistry she shares with Ritwik comes as a bonus. For her fiancée, the flamboyant singer, I had no second thoughts beyond Jisshu Sengupta, who has the rare blend of striking good looks and a very sensitive acting form that can work wonders in a layered script. He lives the moment in camera. Never pretends. The complexities of an author, blind since birth, needed deft handling and the effort Tota Roychowdhury put into the role is incomparable. His willingness to push his capacity to its limits has given us memorable performances in Chokher Bali and Angshumaner Chhobi. Now. I had a powerhouse principle cast on board. But I still needed another brilliant lot to play the no-less-important cameos. I craved for those who keep us glued to the screen even within a very short time span. Thanks to these actors who have enriched the film in that capacity with their glowing presence – Rudranil Ghosh, Arunima Ghosh, Dulal Lahiri, Barun Chanda, Bodhisatya Majumdar, Arindam Sil. All said and done, keep your eyes open for two young debutants who are bound to steal the show – Mahua Halder and Aritro Dutta.
Share your emotion related to the film Ek Phaali Rodh: It’s a film very close to my heart. I was quite hooked on by the issue of ‘Bystander Effect’ and wanted it to serve as the springboard for the concept of the film. Besides, it gave me an opportunity to work with some of my most favourite actors. The form of the film, combining fiction with non-fiction, use of hidden camera and CCTV footage is quite new for me. The music by Joy Sarkar also turned out to be quite captivating. So, it’s an exciting package.
All of your earlier films, dealt with social and psychological and social issues, we guess there won’t be any exception regarding EPR as well. Please throw some light on the plot: The film takes off from the issue of Bystander Effect – the socio-psychological phenomenon where people do not offer help to strangers in distress. A social scientist (Dhritiman Chaterji) is working on it and as part of the research, he engages Swagato (Ritwik Chakraborty) and Anwesha (Aparajita Ghosh Das) to create mock crisis on the streets of Kolkata. The aim is to analyse human behaviour and derive conclusions from them. Suddenly, one day, they come face to face with some acute crisis which takes them off-guard and they cannot decipher whether its ‘mock’ or ‘real’. After that, there is lot of high-voltage drama, suspense and quite a bit of emotion coming in.
‘Bystander effect’ is the underlying theme of the movie. Why did you choose such a topic and do you intend to spread any kind of awareness in the society about such human emotions and conditions: The topic is quite alarming. It all started with the public murder of 28-year-old Kitty Genovese in New York in 1964. 38 people watched the young woman getting stabbed and killed on the street and yet no one chose to raise alarm or call the police. It shook the nation and the world at large and rocked our faith against each other. Exactly fifty years have passed since then and there has been numerous incidents happening in different parts of the globe. Though the issue is very sensitive and raises fundamental questions about human behavior, the aim of the film is not restricted to creating awareness. I strongly believe the film stands on its own intending to satisfy viewers as a work of art exploring human emotion, drama and suspense.
What kind of research did you have to do in order to create an entire feature film around it ? The most cinematic aspect of Bystander Effect research lies in the use of ‘mock’ crisis. All over the world, social scientists hire small-time actors to enact scenes of crisis on the streets. And that is what turned me on to create a feature film around the subject. Quite a few books as well as Youtube videos gave me a theoretical know-how and then I met a few social scientists and organizations who were working on this issue. I always enjoy delving deep into the basic reality before designing its fictional representation.
In Rupkatha Noy we saw you presenting Soumitro Chattopadhyay so beautifully, and in EPR you have cast Dhritiman Chattopadhyay who is also a very experienced actor and an industry veteran, your experience of working with Dhirtiman sir? I have been waiting for long to work with Dhritiman Chaterji. For quite sometime, we used to catch up whenever he came over to Kolkata from Chennai (where he stays now) and I really enjoyed those enlightening sessions. That is how, we started sharing a bond and Ek Phaali Rodh was the best thing to have happened after that. Apart from being a very experienced and accomplished actor, he is a brilliant mind with varied interests and charming personality. Interacting with him is always a pleasure.
You have repeated Tota Roychowdhury, Aparajita Ghosh Das (Chakraborty), Arunima Ghosh (Abby Sen) and Jisshu Sengupta in two of your movies, do you think these four actors are underrated in Tollywood or some consider them as unlucky for Box Office success as well? Do you intend to break this jinx? This custom of branding an actor as unlucky for Box Office is utter nonsense. Some actors never get their due and that has happened throughout history. We should acknowledge their talent and passion for acting. No use lamenting as to why they never got the adulation they deserve. Jisshu, Tota, Arunima and Aparajita have proved their brilliance time and again in cinema or television and they are some of my most favourite actors. I would go on working with them irrespective of how they are branded by the industry.
Ritwck Chakraborty is now the budding Star Actor of Tollywood, your directorial views on Ritwick, the actor? Ritwik is sensational. He can give a unique edge to a character by using his reactionary power, sharp intellect and improvising skill. Its not common that we come across such actors who can work wonders with a combination of intuitive skills.
Joy Sarkar during the music launch of Ek Phali Rodh said that after working with you, working with other directors becomes a little difficult as no one gives as much freedom as you do… We would like to know why do you always choose Joy Sarkar for the music in your films? I like film music to be spontaneous and varied. Joy has this rare capacity of blending simple melody with intensity of expression. Besides, he loves to experiment and is never bothered about dictates of the market. In that way, we share a common vision. I have worked with Joy in three films (Rupkatha Noy, Ek Phaali Rodh, Abby Sen) and in each of them, he has developed a different musical expression.
Such a complex psychological behavior as the Bystander Effect forms the theme of your film, do you think the audience is ready for such complex topics, more from the comprehension point of view? There is nothing complex in Bystander Effect. You see a stranger writhing in pain on a street. The question is, whether you will help him or not. As simple as that. Besides, none of my films are difficult to comprehend. Basically, I conform to a simple narrative style.
Currently what subjects are you reading and researching on and what can the audience expect next? I am working on some subjects but it is too early to tell about them. It will be something entirely different. Can assure you that?
The Bengali film industry at the moment is said to be going through a slack period, do you think EPR, just like Srijit Mukherji’s Chotushkone, will act as oxygen for this wilted industry? Certainly, I do have quite a bit of expectation regarding EPR. The subject is new, the treatment is not common, the cast includes some of the best names, and there is a lot of drama, emotion and suspense ! I think the audience would like it.
A synopsis of Ek Phali Rodh… Film-maker Atanu Ghosh deals with a unique theme that has not been seen on Indian cinema before…. the “Bystander Effect”.. Mock Crisis Scenarios VS Real-life Crisis.. starring Dhritiman Chatterji, Ritwik, Aparajita… Being a talented director, Atanu has created a beautiful relationship tale out of it… hope you have got your tickets already for #Abhijaan2015!
Unblogging it all… Ishita
Disclaimer: While you enjoy reading my posts with lot of visuals, please do not use any material from these posts. All pictures have been shared with me, courtesy Atanu Ghosh and are protected by copyright. All content provided by Atanu Ghosh. You can catch my daily food and travel journey on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
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