Director Partha Sarathi Joardar Talks about Phera-an Award winning Bengali Cinema
Meet the director Partha Sarathi Joardar in an exclusive interview with Calcutta Tube. Partha Sarathi Joardar talks about Phera, upcoming movie “Chora Bali” where Rituparna Sengupta is doing an ITEM SONG.
CalcuttaTube: Congratulations that the Bengali movie ‘Phera” that won the Uttam Kumar KalaRatna award under your direction. Please tell something about the film.
Partha Sarathi Joardar: “Phera 2009‘ is a bit off the side from any usual mainstream Bengali film. The story of Phera revolves round a tribal girl and her love, feelings and sacrifice. In Phera, the audience cannot guess what the story is going to end up with, unlike other Bengali movies. You have to watch it till the very end to know the ultimate climax of the movie. The birthplace of the story is the same where we shot the film. And we worked very hard to get everything right about the movie and the actors Rituparna, Priya Karfa, Shilajeet were all immensely involved in the film. And the audience were left speechless by the way the film ended. It moved them somewhere. The music and lyrics by Sanchayita is something that have not been used in the Bengali cinema for the last 10-15 years. We worked meticulously on the editing part of the film. Pradip Chakrabarty used many rare instruments in creating the parallel music. The story and script are mine, they just occurred to me. I have not really spent much time on them., they came out spontaneously. I operated the camera, even though we had the most senior cameraman in the crew. All these turned out into a good film.
CalcuttaTube: Where did you all shoot for the movie?
Partha Sarathi Joardar: We shot 80 percent of the film in the remotest areas of Bolpur, in the tribal villages. We also shot parts of the film in Mython and Kolkata. We have tried to bring a detailed description of the places in the movie. I have also tried to amalgamate the scenes of Mython and the tribal villages around Bolpur to generate similar effects.
CalcuttaTube: How long did it take you to complete the shooting?
Partha Sarathi Joardar: We completed the whole shooting in only 22 days. It was a record. We completed the making of the full film in four months. And when I see the audience requesting for the movie to be brought back to a film festival, I feel rewarded for the hard work.
CalcuttaTube: How is a movie selected for a film festival? Do you have to request the authorities?
Partha Sarathi Joardar: When Phera won the Uttam Kumar Kala Ratna Award, we just received a letter that the movie has been chosen as the best film of the year. We did not have any previous knowledge about it. And for showing a film in the film festival, we have to do the the preliminary paper works mentioning the genre, duration, subtitles etc. If the film fulfills all the criteria, we have to send the authorities a dvd of the film. They watch the film and judge if it is worth showing in the film festival. It does not work by request.
CalcuttaTube: When making a film, do you have to keep in mind the commercial aspect, too?
Partha Sarathi Joardar: When I was making ‘Phera‘ I really did not think about its commercial side or any specific target audience. Phera is a movie that everyone would enjoy. Anyone, belonging to any niche or any section of the society can enjoy the story of a tribal girl’s love and emotions.
CalcuttaTube: You have used totally different kind of music in Phera. Why do you think we are not having enough original good numbers in Bengali movies anymore? Why do we always have to have beats and dances in our songs?
Partha Sarathi Joardar: The tastes of the Bengali audience have changed. A visualization factor has come in. The audience wants to watch the numbers, and not just listen to the music. So the musicians are left with no choice but going with the audience demand. In olden days, the songs and numbers evolved from the nature. It is no longer that way. Music now means albums moisturizing women dancing around in certain gestures.
CalcuttaTube: The Bengali movies are now far more technically advanced and some audience are going to back to the movie theatres to watch Bengali films. But we still lack original Bengali stories. Many of the Bengali movies get their stories from the South Indian films. Why is that? Do we not have enough talented writers in Bengal?
Partha Sarathi Joardar: There was a time when Bengali movies were adapted in other regional languages and in the present times, we copy from other regional languages. We do not really give much thinking to what is good and what is not. We are more inclined to ready-made things. Just the way we want ready-made fast food, we try to get ready-made films too. Often people talk about risks these days. I do not always understand that, either. Sometimes filmmakers copy a 25 crore-rupee South Indian film and put it in a 75 lakh-rupee budget and try to get whatever they can. But definitely there are exceptions. And the audience preferences have changed too. If you make a classic film based on a story by Rabindranath Tagore or Sharat Chandra Chattopdhyay, they may not even go to watch the film. Who would a director make a film for, if the audience do not care to watch it? Let me cite an example. When Shakti Samata directed Devdas, with Prasenjit in the name role and Shaktipada Rajguru as the scriptwriter, the film got such a shocking response at the box-office. It was probably the biggest flop in Shakti Samanta’s career. The directors often make remakes because they know about how people have previously reacted to those stories. They anticipate that the inspired versions and the remakes may again attract the audience. But it does not mean that all the directors make copies of others’ works. If you watch Phera, you cannot say that I have copied any scenes, sequences or dialogues.
CalcuttaTube: Plese tell us something about your next film ChoraBali.
Partha Sarathi Joardar: Chora Bali is about some unemployed young men who dream of doing something good in life. They start working for some elite class people, but after some time the dark sides of their employers come in front of them. The lives of these young folks are messed up in legal hazards. At a point they start protesting with the help of an ex-military man. This is the overall story of ChoraBali. The story is mine. The script is mostly written by me, though my friend Ashok Basu has helped me in a few places. Sanchayita is the music director and lyricist of this film and Pradip Chakrabarty has worked on the background music. Shankar Guha has dealt with the camera besides me. We are a team trying to come up with good movies.
CalcuttaTube: How important is role of Rituparna Sengupta’s role in this movie?
Partha Sarathi Joardar: This is the first movie where Rituparna Sengupta does not do any acting at all. She plays an item girl in Chora Bali.
CalcuttaTube: Plese share your experience working with Soumitra Chattopadhyay. He will be completing his 50 years of his acting career in the middle of September 2009.
Partha Sarathi Joardar: I have worked with Soumitra Chattopadhyay in Megh Brishter Khela, which will be released in December 2009. I think he is one of the very rare dignified, polite artists that the Bengali movie industry has ever had. I personally find Soumitra Chatterjee‘s performance much more spontaneous in certain places than that of Uttam Kumar’s. Soumitra Chattopadhyay has an immense contribution to Satyajit Ray’s works, too. A lot of Satyajit Ray’s works came out the way they have, because of Soumitra Chattopadhyay’s presence in the films.
Interview by: Ankan Basu, CT EDITOR, USA
Write Up by: Shrabanti Basu, CT Reporter, USA