February 17, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Martin Scorsese has shown keen interest in revising and restoring Mamata Shankar’s legendary father Uday Shankar’s film ‘Kalpana’.
Sheepishly Mamata confesses she has been not as swift and professional in her dealings with Martin Scorsese as she should have. “He has indeed been very interested. But I’ve not been able to keep up the communication with Martin as much as I’d like to. I’m so busy with many different things. Apart from looking after my family and work I also have a mother (former danseuse Amala Shankar) who is over 90. All this is no excuse for putting behind a project as important as a restoration of my father’s film.”
Mamata now intends to interact seriously with Martin Scorsese and get the restoration work off the ground. “I feel it’s a great responsibility that has been put forward for me. I can’t thank Martin Scorsese enough for taking such keen interest in ‘Kalpana’.” The legendary choreographer-dancer Uday Shankar’s daughter Mamata Shankar who is a reputed actress in her own right has just completed another Bengali film ‘Abohoman’ where her role is apparently based on Mrs. Satyajit Ray’s life.
The soft-spoken Mamata who wears the hat of a dancer (she runs Udayan The Mamata Shankar Dance Company), actress and housewife protests against any resemblance of her character to real life.
“There are so many wives of directors who support and help their husband with the making of their films the way I’m supposed to have done in ‘Abohoman’ and there are directors who have had relationships with their actresses. I don’t think ‘Abohoman’ is based on any one life or experience,” protests Mamata who has played the lead in 3 of Satyajit Ray’s films ‘Ganshatru’, ‘Shakha Proshakha’ and ‘Agantuk’ and several notable works of Mrinal Sen.
In fact Mamata’s first feature film Mrinal Sen’s ‘Mrigaya’ in 1976 was also her last Hindi film. “After ‘Mrigaya’ I never got an offer in Hindi worth considering. Rather than do inconsequential roles I chose to stay away from Hindi cinema. My output in Bengali cinema too is sparse. I’m grateful to Rituparno Ghosh for giving me a role like ‘Abohoman’. It gave me a chance to play a woman quite unlike any I’ve played so far. In most of my films I play women who are organized formal and proper. In ‘Abohoman’ I’m quite scattered the way I’m in real life.”
-Subhash K Jha/ Sampurn Wire