Dec 12, 2010 (CalcuttaTube): Filmmaker Atanu Ghosh shares his thoughts on his upcoming Bengali film ‘Takhan Teish’ dealing with emotions and romanticism of the male psyche, a genre not really ventured into in Bengali cinema. The film stars Jishu Sengupta, Indrani Haldar, Paoli Dam, Aparajita Ghosh Das, Tanushree Shankar in lead roles.
Read his exclusive interview with the talented director at Calcutta Tube to know about his upcoming projects and much more.
CalcuttaTube: ‘Takhan Teish’ is basically about male emotions and fantasies. Why did you choose this subject?
Atanu Ghosh: I was basically interested to explore the psyche of the new generation, which has altered drastically due to changing environs and advent of new technology. I also think that there have not been many films in Bengali on male fantasy, emotion and romanticism. So when I had an interesting plot in mind, I thought I could also explore virtual relationship oriented things like facebook, orkut, in this contemporary story. The main plot of the film revolves around the journey of Tamodeep, played by Jisshu Sengupta, shown in broadly two phases.
When he was 23 constitutes about 95 percent of the film. And now he is 27. The subject also gave me scope to tell a story in a non-linear form, that is, we go back and forth in time. The basic narrative is however, very straight forward. Srabani, Sriparna, Meghna, Mohini are four female characters who encircle Tamodeep and within a span of 48 hours his life changes; one character and story overlapped into another. This creates a curious set of relations, which is kind of a psychological exploration. There is always an element of suspense in the story. In the drama you always wonder what is going to happen next in the young man’s journey. The film is not any thriller in crime detection sense. But a suspense is maintained all throughout.
CalcuttaTube: How much have we explored fantasies in Bengali films? Some time back we got the film ‘Clerk’ that dealt with fantasy.
Atanu Ghosh: ‘Clerk’ explored fantasy of a clinical kind – a man hopelessly getting plunged into fantasy and getting alienated from reality. That fantasy is more of a schizophrenic tendency.
My film is about fantasies that every person undergoes while growing up and it invariably changes form with age. At one point of time, the only form of fantasy was pornography. This changed with time. If we look at virtual relationships, it can also be termed as a form of fantasy. The freedom and scope you get to enter.a relationship like this, can be thought of an extension of fancy which was rather impossible before.
Besides, topics that were closeted or were like a taboo subject are not so much these days. This is a big change. So you find people are more prone to confession.
Be it Facebook or a FM show, people are baring their hearts out. For the new generation, there is a search for space, and people are speaking up more. The space is giving more scope for confessions. In the film, Tamodeep’s biology teacher Meghna runs a program on the FM where people tell their deepest secrets. There are so many new psychological outlets and in respect to that changes in personality take place. The character Sriparna meets different men of different age groups from the net, who she classifies as good, bad, interesting, strange. With the new-age outlets of fantasies, how it supports or affects our emotions, romanticism is the basic theme of the story.
CalcuttaTube: Is it answered in the film or is it for the audience to seek the answer?
Atanu Ghosh: There is no scope for answering. Its the reality and you have to accept it. I always believe in a close net structure of storytelling. The character I am exploring in my film goes through a definite change of perception, and reaches a point.So do the other characters in the periphery of the central character.
CalcuttaTube: Your films are much different than regular mainstream Bengali films. How do you indentify with them?
Atanu Ghosh: I do not believe in formula based films. But I think my film is also mainstream and commercial, Formula does not excite me in any way. Besides, I am against any kind of remakes. I do not find interest in creating something that has already been made. I think it should be new, fresh.
‘Angshumaner Chhobi’ was more classical in terms of story, form, and structure. And I wanted my next film to be more contemporary. ‘Takhan Teish’ is fresh in its form, it is more like the films being made all over the world. Cinematic form is very important for me.
CalcuttaTube: Is it technologically?
Atanu Ghosh: Advanced technology is not always affordable. Particularly, in regional films where budget is very limited. Yet, we have tried to do little things in editing and cinematography.
CalcuttaTube: You always explore human minds. People have always been your subject…..
Atanu Ghosh: People, their interrelationships, interactions – are always my subject.
Meghna (Indrani), who holds the torch to inside Tamodeep’s mind, understands human psyche. People feel comfortable telling her their deepest secrets. There is always an element of trust…..
CalcuttaTube: …May be another thing works here is that you know you will not be judged….
Atanu Ghosh: …Its not mandatory to be judgemental. In her FM show, Meghna does not necessarily provide any solutions or give instructions to anyone. All she tries is to unburden people’s minds. This unburdening process is itself therapeutic. This is another important aspect of this generation. When they unburden, they add their own footnotes; they analyze and seek reasons for their actions.
CalcuttaTube: Do you always study humans around you?
Atanu Ghosh: Not necessarily. The preliminary idea comes to me from the plot.
CalcuttaTube: How much of it comes from real life?
Atanu Ghosh: A lot. From real life incidents, or something I have read in newspaper, or interaction with people.
CalcuttaTube: …You work a whole lot with Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Indrani Haldar. Where do they touch you as actors?
Atanu Ghosh: They are two outstanding actors. Who doubts about that ! I can depend on their acting prowess, experience and sensitivity. Besides, I always like to work with a small group of actors, Since my movies deal with a very in-depth study of psyche. I can depend only on actors who can authenticate this study. My actors get involved with my films from the script stage. This means they can rely on me somewhere and that is why they give me that time. We often get a common seating with my cast who have previously worked with me. It helps all of us understand how a role is going to be handled. Most of the time, our budget is limited and we do not get much time for discussions during shooting.
CalcuttaTube: Are all the female characters in the film equally important?
Atanu Ghosh: Yes they are. In fact, its very difficult to decipher which one is more important than the other !
CalcuttaTube: What is the censor rating of this film?
Atanu Ghosh: U/A. I did not have problems with that. We have dealt with the subject in a very different way. And the censor board had a very mature opinion.
CalcuttaTube: What are your changes since Anghuamaner Chhobi as a filmmaker?
Atanu Ghosh: When I look back at ‘Anghumaner Chhobi’ I think I would do things in different way now. Any debut efforts are marked with inexperience. There is a chalk and cheese difference between telefilms and films. Telefilm is a totally different genre, with different technicalities. I am learning from those mistakes. I have worked with a better technical team this time. Hopefully, I have come up with better result in ‘Takhan Teish’.
CalcuttaTube: Your films are never for the mass in that sense. Who is the. audience of ‘Takhan Teish’?
Atanu Ghosh: The definition of mass is quite complicated. We have defined an urban mass and a rural mass. But when we showcased some telefilms in rural areas we were astonished by the responses there. But I am within those filmmakers who are branded urban, because the subjects I deal with are those that urban people relate to. So may be, predominantly it is an urban film.
The issues we are trying to tackle here are age-old. Anyone who has an idea on male psyche can relate to it. The story telling is very simple, anyone will understand. But there are many layers in the film and different people will relate to it differently.
CalcuttaTube: Please say something on your upcoming projects.
Atanu Ghosh: I am toying with two projects. One is a time-travel story, comedy in nature, where a young man of average capabilities is struggling to come to terms with the cut-throat competition of the modern world. Parambrato Chattopadhyay is going to play the main protagonist. The second concept is based on Ashok Kumar Mukhopadhyay’s short story ‘Ekok Pita’. Curiously, this is the first time that I would be making a film that is not my story.It is about a divorced man desperately craving to find a torch-bearer, a boy or a girl, who would carry forward the unique bond he shared with his father. Dhritiman Chattopadhyay will play the role of the father. The rest of the cast is not final, nor is the title of the movie. But music will play an important role in the film; there will be at least five songs.