Ace Bengali filmmaker Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury talks to Ankan Basu from CalcuttaTube at the North America Bengali Conference (NABC) 2010. Read the exclusive interview at CalcuttaTube.
CalcuttaTube: How do you like it at the NABC?
Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury: It feels great to see so many Bengalees here in the USA. We are enjoying our stay and Databazaar Media Ventures’ warm hospitality. I am happy that Databazaar is promoting the Bengali film Ekti Tarar Khonje. It is running houseful here today. Everything is excellent.
CalcuttaTube: How did you come to know about Databazaar?
Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury: We came across Databazaar through Arijit Dutta, film distributor and owner of Priya Entertainments. He has also acted in Ekti Tarar Khonje. He told me about a model being formed here for bringing in Bengali movies. Filmmaker Suman Ghosh also told me about it. Then I met Oney Seal, the CEO and owner of Databazaar Media Ventures who is showcasing our current film Ekti Tarar Khonje.
CalcuttaTube: Bengali movies are now getting a world exposure. Do you think we have enough films for that?
Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury: Yes, we definitely do. The Bengali film industry was in fact waiting for something like this to happen. Different movies have different audience. I believe that we can make international standard films from Kolkata. We can make films of Bengali orientation with English titles and market them globally. All our films have smaller budget. We can make multiple Bengali films for the amount of money that is required to produce a single Bollywood film. If we can come up with good films and have a proper platform to launch them, sky will be the limit.
CalcuttaTube: Bengali cinema has experienced a crisis for decades when the films lost popularity among the audience. This was true for the Bengali movie songs as well. Recently there are some changes coming in. We now see more experiments with Bengali film-songs. How would you use songs in your movie?
Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury: My previous film ‘Antaheen’ did very well. It was Santanu Moitra’s debut in the Bengali films while the lyrics were by Chandrabindu. The music CDs made huge sales. People were very happy with the songs. The audience praised the music and even said that the glorious days of filmy Bengali songs are back. It all depends of the quality of the music. There will always be a market for good works.
CalcuttaTube: What are your expectations from the Bengali audience?
Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury: The Bengali audience does not really let us down. I would ask for their dedicated viewership and promise the same dedication on our part. The US audience have already requested me to come back with more films. I have also got quite a few invitations. In fact, I am visiting Nashville.
CalcuttaTube: Since Bengali films now have a bigger market and perspective, have you ever thought of working the American Bengalee actors in your movies?
Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury: When I am working in a cross cultural film, I have the option of using actors from other cultures. In ‘Anuranon’, I have worked with British actors. I am ready to work with actors from any place, if they fit into the role.
CalcuttaTube: Databazaar Media Ventures is working so hard to stop the piracy of Bengali films…..
Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury: God bless them! It will make a huge difference if the piracy can be stopped somehow. It is just killing the industry. I earnestly request the audience not to buy pirated movies. Making a film requires a lot of hard work, money, passion. It is very humiliating to see that pirated versions of films are sold on sidewalks at a meager price. Moreover, the filmmaking team does not get any revenue out of it. If this can be stopped, it will immensely encourage for the whole film fraternity.
CalcuttaTube: Are you working on any new films?
Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury: Yes, I am working on a script. I should start making a new film by the end of this year.
CalcuttaTube: How do you choose a story for filmmaking?
Aniruddha Ray Chowdhury: When I am directing a film, I am actually trying to tell a story. In the scripting phase I can thoroughly visualize the film with my eyes closed. This is followed by production.
For some time, the story was not actually coming to me. We call it the ‘marinating’ part. It is the most vital thing. Right now, I am working on a couple of scripts. Let’s see how we do with that. Another difficult part is organizing money, etc. But hopefully I will get to start a new film by the end of this year.
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