Bengali filmmaker Subhadro Chowdhury talks about his Bengali film CLERK starring Prosenjit in the lead role. Learn more about CLERK as the director opens himself to us.
CalcuttaTube: The story of clerk has a different kind of story with a blend of real and fantasy factors. What was the inspiration for the story?
Subhadro Chowdhury: The film is inspired by a story once heard from my seniors about a real-life person who had this kind of personality. He was a different man during the day and a totally changed person at night surrendering to emotional fantasies. He had posters of his favorite heroines all over his place. His fictitious conversations with the stars often got so loud that the neighbors discovered it. That was how the idea of making the film came to me. I made necessary changes in my script, however. There is no proper documentation about this story, nor me or friends have ever seen the person.
CalcuttaTube: Why did you choose Prosenjit as the main cast?
Subhadro Chowdhury: The characters in almost every movie come from a story. ‘Clerk’ is one of those rare movies where the story evolved from a character. The story in ‘Clerk’ follows a character, not the other way round. The protagonist in a character-driven movie is of utmost importance. There was no actor other than Prosenjit that I could think of in terms of acting, stardom and market value.
CalcuttaTube: Filmmakers often talk of target audience for their films. But you did not have target audience in mind when making ‘Clerk’. Does it increase chances of risk?
Subhadro Chowdhury: ‘Target audience’ is not any fully proven phenomena. I do not like the idea of making a film only for a certain portion of people, and no one else. It also does not make much sense to think in some particular way and go with the thoughts of others. I go by my instincts. I am sure there will always be others who would share the same vision as mine. When making ‘Clerk’ I got feedbacks from Nitesh, Shirsho, Prosenjit, which gave me a picture of how things were coming out. They all come from different strata of the society with different outlooks. There will be others who would have similar vision as theirs.
CalcuttaTube: Who do you think would identify with the film?
Subhadro Chowdhury: We have stayed out of mundane Bengali film topics, ingredients and music in ‘Clerk’. Even though it is a Bengali film, it would still have a metropolitan global market. ‘Clerk’ has been promoted as world cinema. It can be the story of any human being from any place. I think the educated middle and upper middle class people should be able to identify with the film.
CalcuttaTube: What was the most challenging thing about making the movie ‘Clerk’?
Subhadro Chowdhury: The outdoor scenes with Prosenjit were really hard to shoot. A star like him gets mobbed in public places. In many scenes in ‘Clerk’, Prosenjit is to be seen walking on the streets- going to work or coming back home. Getting those shots were extremely challenging. Not much security is available to us when we shoot outdoors. We did not have a big budget either to hire extra security.
CalcuttaTube: Since ‘Clerk’ is a different kind of a film, what kind of music have you used in the film?
Subhadro Chowdhury: We have not used any Indian sounds in the film. Western sounds have been predominantly used. The music is scored by Raja Narayan Dev. The movie does not contain any songs.
‘Clerk’ is a psychological drama where the protagonoist character has two sides of his personality. The music has been used in the background to push the story.
CalcuttaTube: Please say something for the audience.
Subhadro Chowdhury: ‘Clerk’ is a totally different type of film and I am sure we will not let anybody down. It would be a very interesting watch. One may like it or not, it would still be a unique film; more of an adventure where you get to explore totally unseen things. I hope people give it a try.
Interview and write up by Shrabanti Basu, CT Reporter