FIRST LOOK – KAGOJER BOU
Lovers of cinema based on literature, contemporary or classic, Bengali, national or international, can look forward to Kagojer Bou (Wife on Paper) directed by Bappaditya Bandopadhyay based on a novel authored by Sirsendu Mukhopadhyay, one of the most talented writers among contemporary Bengali littérateurs. Bappaditya has made another film on Sirsendu’s story, Silpantar, a very complex film that brought him international recognition. The name was Potua Nibaran, about the tragedy of a folk artist who finds his art fading away in the face of competition from modern intrusions into art. A serialized version was made for television long ago. But it failed to click.
Bappaditya Bandopadhyay is among the younger lot of filmmakers in Bengal who has hit the international scene with his works. His first film Sampradaan fetched him the Most Promising Director Award from the Bengal Film Journalists Association. It also featured at the 6th Dhaka International Film Festival in 2000. It is about a young girl choosing her mother to ‘give her away’ as part of the wedding rituals, conventionally done by the father. She rejects the father’s request because he deserted the family when she was a little girl. After Silpantar, he has never had to look back. Other films followed such as Devaki, (in English and Hindi), Kantataar, Kaal and Houseful.
“When Sirsendu Mukhopadhyay, one of my favourite authors, saw my earlier film Silpantar, he quite liked it. So, I felt why not make another film on a novel he wrote 30 years ago? The novel is Kagojer Bou and it identifies closely with human relationships as they sustain today in an urban metro like Kolkata. In this sense, it is a futuristic story. I wrote the script myself, got my cast together, a very young cast as the story demands, and began,” informs Bappaditya.
The actors are Rahul, Priyanka, Rimjhim Gupta, Paoli Dam and Joy Sengupta. The story revolves around the materialistic motives that form the basis of any relationship today. Upal, a married man is not interested in his wife (Rimjhim Gupta) but is attracted to Preeti, an upbeat, modern girl with liberal morals. He contacts his old friend Subimal, jobless and aimless, and asks him to seduce Preeti in exchange for money. Mission accomplished, Upal now wants to get rid of his wife by getting a divorce. He again persuades Subimal to do the ‘needful.’ Preeti, on the other hand, has her own material axes to grind. What happens to Subimal who allows himself to be so used? Why does he permit himself to be exploited so? Is it because he is desperate for money? Or is it because he basically has no morals like his friend Upal?
Paoli Dam has been roped in to play Preeti. She has some intimate scenes with Joy Sengupta. These parts were shot at the picturesque location of Mondarmoni, a holiday resort a few hours away from Kolkata. “The character is very different from what I have done before,” says Paoli who wears a very seductive look in the film. “Preeti is an independent girl of today who knows what she wants out of life. As Preeti, I am wearing lots of trendy clothes in the film. I will be wearing halter necks, micro-minis and even a bikini. Bappaditya asked me to shed some weight and I have done it sincerely. I am looking forward to this film because I play a role that is against the screen stereotype I have played till now,” says Paoli.
Rana Dasgupta is cinematographer, Gautam Bose is doing the art direction and the musical score is being done jointly by Abhijit Bose, a regular with Bappaditya, and a Bangla band called Lakhhichhara. Producer Binod Lahoti hopes to release the film after the Durga Pooja this year. The film is basically rooted in the Kolkata of today with its shopping malls, multi-plexes, food courts, cell-phones and computers with broadband connections.
by Shoma A. Chatterji