March 13 (Calcutta Tube): Suman Ghosh’s DWANDO is the first Bengali movie that is to release over 70000 retail stores all over the US and CANADA on March 16th, 2010. DATABAZAAR is finally bridging the gap between Bengali films and the international market. Filmmaker Suman Ghosh talks about the opportunities of alternative Bengali cinema in an EXCLUSIVE interview with Calcutta Tube.
CalcuttaTube: You are an economist by profession. How did you think think of making films?
Suman Ghosh: I always had passion for films. When I came to the US to do my PhD at the Cornwell University, I took classes and pursued film-making, since there is a lot of flexibility in the US.
CalcuttaTube: What are the advantages and disadvantages of making films in India when you live in the US?
Suman Ghosh: I think that America is truly an international place where one is are more exposed to world culture. Being here I can make films with an international sensibility. That is the fun part of it. The difficult part is to be in Kolkata and adjust there. However, I am more comfortable about it now since I have developed a team in Kolkata. It was more of a challenge when I made my first film in Kokata.
CalcuttaTube: How hard is it for you to get produces since do not make ordinary potboiler films?
Suman Ghosh: It was very hard for me to make my first film (Podokkhep). But after the film won National awards, things became easier. My second film ‘Dwando‘ was co-produced by the Databazar and NRIs. So it was not bad since there are a lot of people in the US who are interested in good films.
CalcuttaTube: Is there any important anecdotes related to the making of ‘Dwando’ that you would like to share with us?
Suman Ghosh: This was my second film with Soumitra Chattopadhyay, so the interaction with him was much easier this time. The film also starred Ananya Chatterjee and we all enjoyed our work very much. I was a bit worried about Soumitra Chatterjee’s health at that time. But we made it and he has given his full into the movie.
[ReviewAZON asin=”B002SRQLLU” display=”inlinepost”]CalcuttaTube: A film is a director’s vision. But when you work with a senior actor of the stature of Soumitra Chattopadhyay, how much suggestion does he have have to offer in your films?
Suman Ghosh: I always interact with my cast when making a film. That brings out the best work. There is definitely a lot for me to learn when I am working with Soumitra Chattopadhyay, and we go through a lot of discussions. I would give him materials regarding the movie to study and he would go through them diligently. Sometimes he would also discuss with me certain dialogues, ask me what if we do it another way. He is very humble which makes the our interaction even more comfortable. Since Dwando was my second film with him, we developed quite a great deal of understanding this time. A lot of times he already knew what I wanted.
CalcuttaTube: A good film needs good audience who can appreciate it. How can we get better audience?
Suman Ghosh: The scope of alternative cinema is not much in Bengal. Even the films made by eminent filmmakers like Rituparno Ghosh, Aparna Sen do not get to release much outside Kolkata. We however do have a huge diaspora audience in the US, Canada, Australia, UK. But this market has hardly been taken into account. The producers do not always get their money back from quality movies and that is a reason that the directors often have to compromise when it comes to commercial aspects of a film. I think that the initiative that Databazar has taken will open up a brand new market for Bengali films. It will also encourage producers to make Bengali movies as they will now get additional business from the world audience.
CalcuttaTube: What other movies are you working in right now?
Suman Ghosh: I am thinking of one satirical comedy on technological fetish like computers, cell phones. And following it will be about a movie about a Bengali family in the USA.
Interview by Shrabanti Basu, CT journalist.