May 4, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Suman Ghosh, one of the directors on the board of Databazaar Media Ventures is winding up the shoot of his much-discussed third feature film Nobel Chor starring Mithun Chakraborty and Soumitra Chatterjee. His first film Podokkhep bagged a National Award for Soumitra Chatterjee. His second film Dwando was an exploration of one of the tenets from the Ten Commandments. For this third film, Ghosh chooses the infamous theft of the Medal Tagore won as part of his Nobel Prize as a peg to hang the strange story of a man’s several journeys – physical, introspective, informative and most importantly, relationship-centric.
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Buy online Suman Ghosh’s ‘Dwando’ starring Soumitra Chattopadhyay, Koushik Sen.
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What motivated this subject?
One was my following up on the media stories when this incident actually happened in 2004. It was much more than just a Nobel Medal stolen from Viswa Bharati. Recently, an article in the New York Times caught my attention. The story recounted how a very important letter of French philosopher and mathematician Descartes stolen many years ago had been found in a small town in Pennsylvania. It was big news. My fictional story perhaps took its cue from this strange ‘finding’ and built it around the character in the film that finds the medal in a dump but does not know anything about it or about its significance. The Nobel Medal is a symbol not only of Tagore and all that he stood for but about the cultural history of Bengal and Bengalis, of the philosophy he stood for.
Is it your way of paying a tribute to Tagore?
Yes, it is. Perhaps I am intrigued by the celebrations of Tagore’s 150th anniversary, trying to discover whether it is a celebration of his genius, of his creativity or of the philosophy he stood for. The film is a fictionalized account of what might have happened to the medal after it was lost or stolen. Apart from Mithun-da and Soumitra-da, I have roped in Saswata Chatterjee, Roopa Ganguly, Harsh Chhaya, Soma Chakraborty, Sudipta Chakraborty, Shankar Debnath, Koushik Ganguly and Paran Bandopadhyay.
Why Mithun Chakraborty to play Bhanu?
I saw Shukno Lanka. His performance was mesmerising. He has a phenomenal memory. He draws on his memory of people, places, and incidents even from the remote past to infuse life into a given character. His dedication is incredible. When he heard the script, he at once identified Bhanu with someone he had known long back named Surjo Santhal and decided to cast Bhanu in the mould of Surjo Santhal. I would never have made this film without Mithun-da. Bhanu is a poor farmer who lives in Bolpur. He is the one who finds the medal. Shukno Lanka made me realize that Mithun is someone who can break the mould. I needed a middle-aged actor, not a young man. He found the script exciting and my work was done.
In what genre would you slot Nobel Chor?
Nobel Chor is a blend of satire and the thriller mode with a touch of humour that is not slapstick. Saswata is excellent in portraying this brand of humour. He plays Hari, Bhanu’s friend who lives in Kolkata with his wife, played by Sudipta. He works in a hotel. When Bhanu comes to Kolkata, he stays with Hari. The second half of the film maps Bhanu’s first ever visit to the city of Kolkata, his interactions with the people he meets and whether the experience brings about any change in him or not. Arindam Sil who is executive producer, plays a police officer in this film. Harsh and Roopa play a wealthy couple from a business family. Bickram Ghosh is composing the music, Barun Mukherjee is doing the cinematography and Ashwani Sharma of Impact Films Mumbai is producing Nobel Chor.
– Shoma A. Chatterji