KAUSHIK GANGULY : AN UNCONVENTIONAL TAKE ON DIVORCE
Kaushik Ganguly began his career as a teacher of Bengali. It is a subtle pointer to his understanding of the youth psyche he brings across so well in his later films like Jackpot and Brakefail. They also prove his penchant for comedy. After the thumping critical success of Just Another Love Story, he decided to make a fun film laid over an undercurrent of seriousness. After a long stint at making wonderful telefilms, Ganguly made his debut with Waris (2004) adapted from an Erich Segal’s Man, Woman and Child. It was a well-crafted film but was too overly sentimental that dwindled into melodrama. His second directorial venture Shunno-E-Buke explored, quite unsuccessfully, the tragedy of a flat-chested woman in a patriarchal world. He came into his own with the comedies of which Rangmilanti, his best till date, completes a hat-trick. Indians living in North America and Canada will be able to watch the film through Databazaar Media Ventures that has acquired the rights of distribution via streaming, telecasting, DVD sales and perhaps screening of Rangmilanti.
“My primary objective was to make an independent film free of interference from any quarter, without top stars and with a very young crop of actors who would be credible as youngsters. So, after auditioning 200 boys and girls from Calcutta colleges over cups of coffee at coffee shops, I drew the final four from television. Tanaji who plays Laden in the film, is a famous theatre director and actor in the English theatre circuit. The young girl had done some films earlier like Satabdi Roy’s Friend. But her talent remained unexplored. I am very happy with the way she has panned out,” he adds. Ganguly had a difficult game to play apart from devising the ten-part game that reveals his passion for good cinema. “The title of each segment is named after a memorable Bengali film, which I think is an innovative touch. It is my way of paying tribute to these films and the audience has liked it very much,” he says.
“I want to work independent of pressure. I really cannot express myself creatively under pressure. My new and young producer Deepten Das said, ‘I do not want to look at the script but I want to produce a film to be directed only by you.’ The result is Rang Milanti. I think part of the film’s success is hinged on the fact that I approached it with a couldn’t-care-less attitude. I took my young cast, the four boys and the young girl to Bolpur which was work-cum-holiday and it worked like magic. By the time we were ready to shoot, they were the best of friends. They hardly knew each other before this film,” he elaborates.
He recalls how he decided to cast his wife Churni as the film actress Kamalini in the film. “She has been cast completely against the grain. Riingo, the filmmaker plays her love interest that makes her leave her husband’s home and think about linking up with this new man. Saswata, who, according to me, is the most under-rated actor in Tollygunge, plays her wonderful husband who accepts his failure balanced with her success. He has his unconventional ways of coping with failure. Deep is a character Bengali cinema has rarely encountered. It goes entirely to Saswata’s credit for making Deep come alive to make everyone laugh,” he explains.
“The custom of swayamvara we have read about in Ramayana and Mahabharata became in inspiration while I was exploring the rising incidence of divorce, live-in-relationships in a metro ambience that is slowly seeing an erosion in the institution of marriage. Urban metros are filled with stories of separations and divorce. I felt it would exciting, interesting and entertaining to relocate the swayamvara concept into today’s Kolkata and marry it to two sub-plots – one featuring a separation and the other exploring the quandary of a single foreign woman who finds herself pregnant when her Bengali partner ditches her unceremoniously. I am happy that the three stories have blended beautifully and the audience has loved the film,” Kaushik sums up.
– Shoma A. Chatterji