First Look: NATOBAR NOT OUT – AMIT SEN’S DEBUT
Natobar Not Out is not a film on cricket. Nor is it a normal potboiler. But it spells out entertainment with a capital “E” because the storyline is original. It spans the journey of a young man, Natobar Gupta, marking his transition from being an ordinary man who dreams of becoming a great poet to actually becoming one, albeit, for a short span of time.
Currently being shot across the streets of Kolkata, Natobar Not Out is the dream-baby of Amit Sen who makes his directorial debut with this film. “The quintessential Bengali wants to be a poet and this is something my audience will be able to identify with. My friend Kamaleshwar Mukherjee read out the script to me and I liked it at once. It has all elements of entertainment – comedy, fantasy, dreams, romance, poetry, music, hope, disillusionment and most importantly – relationships. The script was a bit too cerebral to begin with but we changed it here and there for wider appeal. You can call it a modern-day reminder of those old Tarun Majumdar’s films,” says Sen.
Amit Sen, who graduated in cinematography from FTII, Pune is a widely known maker of ad films and has been a practicing professional for around 20 years working simultaneously in India and Bangladesh. Not one to be bogged down by the responsibilities of directing, cinematographing and producing films, Sen is doing a post-graduate diploma in Tagore Studies. “I liked the script also because I liked the protagonist Natobar, a young man who never gives up. He creates his own value system within the larger framework of the value system he has been brought up within and that makes him different from others. Mishtu, the girl who loves him, is the only stable factor in his life, the others move in and out of his world. I chose a new boy, Mustafa Prakash who studies Dramatics in a Bangladesh University. I had auditioned many boys in Kolkata and Mumbai but chose him because I recalled his appearance in a play and felt he would suit the character,” details Sen.
Raima Sen has been pencilled in as Mishtu while Ananya Dutta from Mumbai is doing Ujala, another girl in Natobar’s life when he enters an ad agency as a copywriter and writer of jingles and becomes famous overnight.. Others in the cast are Ramaprasad Banik, Biswajit Chakraborty, Chandan Sen, Kharaj Mukherjee, Moushumi Shaha, Sudeepa Basu and Kaushik Ganguly. “You will get soaked in the magical music scored by Debajyoti Misra for this film,” says Sen. Sampad Roy is cinematographer, Mridul Baidya is art director and Ayan Bhattacharya is in charge of the sound design. Sumit Ghosh will edit the film.
“As director, I know exactly what I want from my actors. I allow them to improvise if this improvisation does not disturb the balance of the scene as I have conceived it. I am not an autocratic director because with good actors I have chosen myself, one cannot afford to be autocratic. I requested veteran actor and theatre person Ramaprasad Banik to conduct a workshop with Mustafa Prakash because this is his first appearance before the camera and also for two days along with Raima to break the ice. In one scene, I asked Kharaj to handle the entire scene because I liked the way he had conceived it,” says Sen.
Natobar is not just a character, he is also a metaphor who a section of the audience will identify with and also the advertising world will find empathy with. The film maps his journey from anonymity to celebrity and back, from Mishtu to Ujala and back, from the real world to an illusory world and back. It also charts his outward journey through his encounters with different people each of who marks out a distinct character in the film. The film has 52 speaking characters and 57 non-speaking characters and this offers a glimpse into the canvas of the film though it is located in contemporary Kolkata. The real story is about the adventures of Natobar Gupta as he pursues his dream. It narrates his poetic encounters with the prosaic and real world, his roller-coaster ride in today’s consumerist, aspirational, image-driven society, and his experiences with the sophisticated and seductive Ujaala who is the absolute opposite of sweet girl-next-door Mishtu. It is a long journey.
Natobar Not Out is being produced by Bunch of Buddies Entertainment (Pvt) Ltd.whose first film Pa Ma Ga Re Sa was released last month. The five buddies who form the group are Sanjay Jhunjhunwala, Alka Saraogi, Ajaay Bakliwal, Rajnish Sethia and Manish Mukim who belong to different fields of creative and business endeavours. Sen’s intention of making tasteful, intelligent Bengali films dovetailed perfectly with the interests of Bunch of Buddies. They wasted no time in starting work on Natobar Not Out,
Natobar Not Out is scheduled for an April release.
by: Shoma A. Chatterji