Arijit Dutta: Bengali Films are doing good business in the US

Arijit Dutta in Kolkata
Arijit Dutta in Kolkata

Sept 19, 2010 (CalcuttaTube): Databazaar Media Ventures (DMV) recently hosted an event for giving away the first dollar checks to the Bengali film producers of their first four Bengali movies it acquired. The films ‘Angshumaner Chhobi’ by Atanu Ghosh, ‘Ekti Tarar Khonje’ by Abhik Mukhopadhyay, ‘Jodi Ekdin’ by Riingo, ‘The Japanese Wife’ by Aparna Sen got good response and brought considerable amount of revenue within a month’s business in North America.

Arijit Dutta, one of the members of DMV’s film reviewing board said that is very sad that good Bengali films are not recognized in their home territory. The films have been making good business in the US and the money it is bringing back to the producers is much more than the revenues earned here.

Dutta also stated that Bengali films by makers like Atanu Ghosh, Aparna Sen have a great scope to be positioned as world cinema. DMV has proved that it is possible to bridge up the gap of revenue for Bengali films which is usually around 50-60 lakhs in Indian currency.

“This is a great start. With this check giving event we hope that more and more industry people are made aware that this possible and they coordinate their releases and publicities so that the films get a global audience.

“Unfortunately the audience somehow is responsible for this. Even the movie goers from the cities are not responding too well to the urban genre films or films that have a cerebral side. Films like this never had rural audience. But now the films are not even doing good with the other section of the audience, which has become an issue. This is why this foreign market has become this important.

“Even Satyajit Ray’s Pather Panchali, was first taken in the foreign market and then in the home territory. There are certain matters in which we Bengalees respond to our own stuff only after others recognize it. A lot of times, I see the Bengalee audience complaining about the lack good cultural events, theatre, but they do not always share their part of responsibility. I am going to sound ruthless here. People would rather wait to get a card than buy tickets for an event. In that sense, Bengalees are a mess. As far as our heritage and culture is concerned, Bengalees are always too much critical about it.

“This genre of Bengali films have a scope of getting money from abroad because of no help, no participation, no support from the home country Bengalees. We have to make all efforts to take Bengali films abroad so that the non-resident Bengalees contribute towards our Bengali cinema and our culture. This has handsomely been done and it is already proven in the quantum of checks for the first four films within a month’s business in the US. The level of awareness for these Bengali films is great. Hope the Bengalees here too share the same awareness and support the Bengali film industry. That will be something, because the makers would love to have their home territory people to see it first, even before the non-resident Bengalees,” said Dutta.

Dutta also urged the Bengali audience to come to forward and help be a part of the solution by watching Bengali films. “There is nothing more humiliating if Bengali films have to depend solely on people outside to keep their culture alive”, comments Dutta.

The Bengali movies acquired by Databazaar Media Ventures have been screened in different Bengali organizations and made available in 19,000 retail stores all across North America. Bengali films have now reached retail and online stores in US like BestBut, Target, Netflix, iTunes for renting, downloading and buying.

Arijit Dutt said that he looks forward to that day when Bengali movies can be released theatrically in the US just like other regular movies and Hindi films and hopes that Oney Seal, CEO of Databazaar Media Ventures seriously looks into that.

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