After the thumping box office success of Autograph, his debut film and a Databazaar Media acquisition, actor-filmmaker Srijit Mukherjee has one more feather on his feathered cap – his second film Baishe Srabon is a big hit once again and has again been acquired by Databazaar Media for streaming and telecasting throughout North America and Canada. Nailed for an interview, this is what Srijit has to say about his second film.
What is the significance of the title of your film that coincides with Tagore’s death anniversary and is also the title of a Mrinal Sen film of yore?
The significance of the title is organically linked to the plot. Each murder is committed to coincide with the date of birth, etc of some famous Bengali poet. I would hate to explain the true significance without giving away the plot. I can definitely say, the film has got nothing to do with the legendary Mrinal Sen’s Baishey Srabon.
A lot of abusive language filled with invectives and four-letter words have been used in the film. Didn’t you face problems with the Censor Board?
We got an “A” certificate but that is about it. If there is an uniform set of guidelines, the language we have used in Baishe Srabon nothing compared to what we have seen in Hindi films like Omkara, Kaminey, Shaitaan, Delhi Belly etc. Most importantly, the abuses are there in accordance with the script and the character.
What is your own gut reaction to your own film?
Well, it is a much darker and more violent film than Autograph, and it doesn’t have a white, feel-good feeling when you finish the film. But technically, I think it is a better made film than Autograph.
How do you direct since you come from a background in theatre? Workshops prior to shooting? Script reading sessions? Allowing the actors to interpret, suggest, improvise on the sets within limits? Or are you very rigid and command your team to stick to the script?
Workshops prior to shooting, I definitely believe in. Script reading sessions are absolutely a must. As for giving space to my actors to interpret, suggest and improve on sets, in this case, it was limited because of the thriller structure of the narrative and the resulting tightness involving incidents, character traits, evidence, turn of events, etc. So not only the acting style, even the edit pattern was pretty much pre-determined within the script itself. The only area where I could experiment was the cinematography and the shot-making, which I did. I shot parts of the film digitally, used a body rig or a Snorricam, probably for the first time in Bengali films.
Both in Autograph and in Baishe Srabon you focus a great deal on close-ups of your protagonist. Is there a special reason?
I agree with Autograph, since thematically I wanted to go very close to both the Face ad the Mask. But I don’t think Baishe Srabon shows any preference to any magnification. If at all, it is totally sub-conscious and I will have to consult a shrink, to answer this, I guess.
Which are the places where you shot the film?
Apart from a small outdoor in Sikkim, it is entirely shot in Kolkata. As for the span, it depends. The basic script was finished in 2008. It was finalized in Jan 2011. The shooting commenced in March, and we wrapped up the shoot in 40 days.
Sunday, January 29, 2012