Calcutta Tube presents an exclusive interview with Avik Banerjee, the writer of the upcoming Bengali science fiction movie ‘Rajdrohi’. Talented actor Angshuman (of Trishna fame) plays the lead role. The female lead roles will be played by debutante Swati and Manali. The script and the direction are by Tapan Banerjee. Avik talks about his inspirations, scopes of science fiction in Bengali cinema, target audience of the film and much more.
Rajdrohi is releasing at the end of November 2009.
Watch the Teaser of Rajdrohi Bengali Cinema
Avik Banerjee: When I first wrote the story of ‘Rajdrohi’ and talked to my father Tapan Banerjee about making it into a film, I surely startled him. We do not have many films based on science fictions in Bengali and getting producers was also another issue. The audience is more used see the heroes in romantic, entertaining roles. Though, they have occasionally enjoyed films like Mr.India or the Hollow Man, it is not a very common thing, esp. in Bengali movies. But somehow we got a producer and started the film.
The story of ‘Rajdrohi’ revolves around Deep (Angshuman), a kind hearted young man who is the protagonist character of the film. His father, an eminent scientist, gets kidnapped one day and evidences show that his dad has got killed. But Deep does not believe that. Even the mutilated body of his father could not make him believe about his father’s demise. In course of time, Deep develops a loving relationship with Raya (Swati). As the story proceeds, Deep comes across Mallika (Manali), who was his father’s assistant at the laboratory. Mallika tells him that his dad had invented a unique formula that could make a human invisible. But it had never been tried on any human beings, since there would be a large risk associated with it. Deep tries this new medicine on himself which turns him into an invisible man. And unfortunately he cannot not get back into his visual body as there is no antidote. Though this is kind of frustrating, he nevertheless has certain advantages over others people and things. And in course of time, he discovers that his dad is still living. This is the basic story. Of course, I am not going into all the details so that the film does not lose its charm.
CalcutteTube: Is the story inpired by the Invisible Man?
Avik Banerjee: When I read the Invisible Man in my teens, I was very much moved by the story itself. In most of the western adaptations of the Invisible Man movies, the invisible man has been portrayed negetively, except for the Mr. India (played by National Award Winning actor Anil Kapoor) version where the hero had a positive role in contrast. I see no point why a human has to turn into something negative once he becomes gifted with something extraordinarily powerful. In the Aliens series, the aliens were shown evil, while in E.T. the alien had a positive role. I personally feel in favor of seeing the good things.
CalcutteTube: Did you write the script, too?
Avik Banerjee: No, I did not. The script and the direction both are by father. He has been in the theatre for a long time and always had interest in films. His previous film ‘Prem’ (2007, Cast: Vivek Trivedy, Shreya Pandey) received a mixed review from viewers. And for this present venture, I would like to give all the credit to my father for coming up with a unique way of presentation and also for the script. It was easier for me to come up with a story. It is him who has done the more difficult job of presenting it to the world.
The film has a lot of special effects. In fact, the majority of the funding had to used for bringing in the special effects. We wanted to show the invisible things in quite some detail, which ended in being more expensive than the shooting itself. Unfortunately the Bengali film industry is not yet that technologically advanced yet. So getting everything done the way we wanted was certainly a big deal.
CalcutteTube: What specifically do you mean by technological hinderence? Is it the cameras, or the studios?
Avik Banerjee: There are several different kinds of resources. One of them is the human resources. We do not have highly sophisticated computer graphics experts. In this movie, Debjit Das helped us with the computer graphics. Even he was a bit skeptical at the very beginning about how things would go, But as we moved on with proceeded with the project, everything turned out to be just fine. We are surely not even close to the Hollywood with our technicalities, but Debjit da has done a very good job in this film.
CalcutteTube: Please tell us something about your target audience of ‘Rajdrohi’, esp. when the general Bengali audience has not got much exposure to science fiction movies so far.
Avik Banerjee: We have tried to make this movie enjoyable for everyone. But the majority of the audience of the Bengali cinema still comes from the rural sectors. The others who go to the movie theatres to watch Bengali movies are mainly the elderly and middle-aged stay-home women. We hardly see urban folks driving to multiplexes to watch Bengali movies. So when we are talking about science fiction to the regular Bengali movie goers, we have to first make them understand what exactly we do mean by the term. It is almost like when you are talking about a high definition movie to a general audience, you have to make it clear what the thing is. Keeping this in mind, we are trying to focus on the invisible part associated with the film and its story to communicate with the audience. That is the center of attraction of the movie. And the presentation is very important, too.