July 13, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Anindo Banerjee who has been directing soaps and serials for different Bengali satellite channels and also acting in them, has just made his directorial debut for the large screen with his first feature film Chaplin starring Rudraneel Ghosh in the title role. Interestingly, Chaplin has been acquired by Databazaar Media Ventures for distribution and screening through its multi-layered outlets in North America and Canada. Anindo has also performed the role of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in Mahesh Manjrekar’s Bengali film Ami Subhash Bolcchi scheduled for release soon. Let’s see what Anindo has to say about Chaplin.
What does cinema mean to you – as a human being, a lover of cinema, an actor, and a director?
Cinema as an art form intrigues me. It has a definite independent language. The focus of this language should be to entertain. Cinema is an art form where a director primarily showcases his creativity with other peoples’ money. So the buck shouldn’t stop after making a film…it needs to roll.
[ReviewAZON asin=”B003M5P9GK” display=”inlinepost”]Is the title Chaplin a metaphor, or is it a celebration of the original artist who raised the screen image of the underdog to great heights forever?
Yes, it is a metaphor. It also reflects a philosophy that demonstrates the power of the human spirit to turn liabilities into assets, negatives into positives like Charlie Chaplin did. My hero entertains the masses pretending to be Chaplin, wears a similar costume complete with bowler hat and stick and lives by the same ideology. He is often invited to perform at birthday celebrations of children of affluent families.
What kind of background does Bangshi come from?
He is very poor. He lives in a Kolkata slum with his seven-year-old son Nimua. They live their own, distinct dreams. Bangshi dreams of making it big as an actor on the big screen and Prosenjit is his icon. Nimua’s dream is to celebrate his birthday like the birthdays of the children his father performs in. He sometimes goes with his father. The narrative revolves around the conflict Bangshi suffers when his dreams of becoming a great star clash with the role he has to play as Nimua’s father.
What role does music play in your film?
Chaplin is an emotional human document. It would have fallen flat if not propped up with proper music. I believe Indradeep Dasgupta has done an extraordinary job. We have been friends for a long time but this is the first time we are working together at this scale. The songs are soul searching and the background score has given the film the mounting that it need.
Is the story concept your idea?
Not really. It was Rudraneel along with Padmanabha Dasgupta, one of the most-in-demand scriptwriters in Bengali cinema, who had been toying with the concept for quite some time. They are the ones who approached the producer. When the producer liked the script, they suggested my name as the one they would wish to direct the film. But even if it had been my concept, I would have chosen Rudraneel to do the multi-layered role of Bangshi because it suits his screen image, his persona and his talents to a tee and he has justified the faith we have in him in every sense.
Let’s hear about the others in the cast.
I have chosen a relatively new face, Rachita for the main female lead because I did not want to impose a starry image on the character. Director Srijit Mukherjee has essayed an important role in the film in addition to Mir, the number one anchor person in Kolkata today. I have cast him against the grain. He is known for his quick wit and his natural flair for comedy. In my film, he plays a sulky character who never smiles. Sohom is the wonder-boy who plays Nimua while Debesh Chatterjee plays Campbell – the fat man in Chaplin’s films.
When do you think Chaplin will release?
We had high hopes of premiering the film at the NABC in July in Atlanta where Databazaar Media Ventures in the chief sponsor this year. But I do not think the film will be ready for release in the first week of July. We have plans to release it in West Bengal in August.
-Shoma A. Chatterji