Director Gaurav Pandey on Shukno Lanka Bengali Film: Interview

Debasree Roy and Sabyasachi Chakraborty in Shukno Lanka
Debasree Roy and Sabyasachi Chakraborty in Shukno Lanka

(Calcutta Tube) Meet director Gaurav Pandey in an intimate interview for his film SHUKNO LANKA sharring MITHUN CHAKRABORTY. Just like a dry red chilli that appears insignificant but adds flavour to a curry, ‘Shukno Lanka’ (dry red chilli), a tribute to Kolkata, is about the extraordinary presence of an ordinary man, played by veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty. Shukno Lanka will be released in the USA and Canada by Databazaar Media Ventures.

”Shukno Lanka‘ is about a person who is like red chilli in a curry – whose presence might not be noticed but who completes his surroundings. The film is about the extraordinary presence of that ordinary man,’ Pandey told IANS in an interview.

A journey about forgotten dreams, ‘Shukno Lanka’ revolves around Chinu Nandy (Mithun Chakraborty), a struggling middle-aged junior artist who survives in an unforgiving Bengali film industry by doing bit roles. A former employee of Coal India, his only dream is to get recognition as an actor.

‘The film is a celebration of Kolkata through that man called Chinu Nandy. Mithun’s character is the personification of the city. Kolkata has forgotten to dream and is excessively struggling with its own shortcomings. It is not an easy city, but still has its own charm and aspirations exactly like Chinu Nandy’s character.’

Pandey was here for the film’s Delhi premiere Thursday.

Co-produced by Mumbai Mantra Media Ltd and the Moxie Group, the film had a simultaneous release Friday in Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai and now the makers are planning to screen it in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Pune.

‘Shukno Lanka’ also stars Sabyasachi Chakraborty, Debashree Roy and debutante Australian actress Emma Brown.

In the film, Mithun’s character accepts his fate hoping someday he could add as much flavour to movies as dry red chillies would to a curry. And when destiny actually opens the doors for him, what comes along is a strange unimagined path.

‘Apart from the city, ‘Shukno Lanka’ is also a celebration of Mithun da – he plays a junior artist in the film,’ said Pandey, who debuted as a director with Raveena Tandon- starrer ‘Stumped’ in 2003.

‘Mithun da is the only star who acts. What has made him a star is that he always had props like a few stirring dialogues and heroic character that people like to watch over and over again.’

The director has cut down all the frills that make Mithun a star.

‘Here he has just two kurtas, one loose pyjama and a pair of chappals. There is no stirring dialogue or anything for him. I have stripped him of whatever has contributed to his stardom and tried to reach the actor in him.’

And what was the veteran’s reaction?

‘When I removed him from that pedestal, he completely loved it because, as an actor, it was after long that he actually got an opportunity to act,’ said Pandey, who has also scripted the movie.

To make it a perfect tribute to the city, he shot ‘Shukno Lanka’ on the streets and alleys of Kolkata.

‘It is one of the first films that has been shot exclusively on the streets, alleys, bridges and highways of Kolkata. Bengali films are very much confined to the studios but we’ve brought the film out of the closed walls,’ said Pandey, who hails from the city.

Rumours were rife that ‘Shukno Lanka’ has influences from Satyajit Ray’s 1958 classic ‘Paras Pathar’.

Asked about the same, Pandey said: ‘It takes a hell of a lot of inspiration from it, but it is not inclined towards it. It is a completely imaginary scenario as I don’t know how Ray made ‘Paras Pathar’.’

Pandey’s future projects include Mithun and his son Mimoh-starrer ‘Spaghetti 24X7’ and a cross-cultural film based in Germany.

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