Director Gaurav Pandey talks to Arijit
Chakraborty of Washington Bangla Radio about his career and his film
Shukno Lonka - the challenges of shooting particularly in Kolkata, the
wonderful time he had making the movie and of course about Mithunda, his
Chinu Nandy - the Shukno Lanka in his film. Do not miss Gaurav's
stories about how Kunal Mitra refused to shoot a scene involving Mithun
Chakraborty messaging his feet, and how Gaurav felt when the police
escorted the 6'2" tall Mithun-da arrived to work in the film and Gaurav
wondered this is the superstar who would play the role of a Rs.250 per
day Junior artist! Another incident Gaurav describes is the difficulties
of making Emma sneeze after Mithunda gives her some snuff - it turned
out Australian actress Emma's Austrian grandfather used to give snuff to
Emma and she is used to it!
Besides Berlin, Shukno Lanka was
completely shot on location in Calcutta, late in the nights in December
of 2009, in the bitter cold. The climax with Mithun-da is actually shot
Gaurav Pandey grew up in North Calcutta - playing
pada cricket in the narrow lanes, going to school at Calcutta Boys in
Entally (near Sealdah), subequently graduating from Scottish Church
College, Calcutta and then persuing graduate degress at Jawaharlal Nehru
University, Delhi, followed by travel to Paris and returning to Mumbai
Gaurav worked as a reporter in many countries
across the globe for 12 years. He is not particularly a cinema buff, and
his career in film-making is more of a fortuitous, even accidental,
event, transpired by his introduction in Paris to the famous film-maker
Basu Bhattacharya (Teesri Kasam, Sparsh). Basu Bhattacharya invited the
very young Gaurav over to Bombay to work as the writer for Aastha: In
the Prison of Spring (1997) starring Rekha.
founded a studio named Continuity Films and made countless
advertisements and hour-long films for Television channels including
Star Plus, Zee Tv and others.
Gaurav Pandey's first full-length
Hindi film Stumped was released in 2003 featuring Raveena Tandon, Aly
Khan and Salman Khan in lead roles. Subsequently he worked as the writer
of Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury's Anuranan (Bengali, 2006).
And then, Shukno Lanka (Bengali, 2010).
title Sukno Lanka comes from the ubiquitous spice in Bengali cuisine,
indispensible but not really acknowledged because it provides identity
to the final dish. This concept carries over into the film world, which
would not function without junior artists.
The film is about - in Gaurav's words, "boro boro
tarokader suparishe benche thaka, onyanyo bhumikar talikar sobcheye
seshe jar naam" - the actor whose name appears at the bottom of the list
of supporting cast credits.
The role of this sukno lonka - the junior artist -
is played by three-time National Award winning acting power-house
Mithun Chakraborty. Sabyasachi Chakraborty and Debasree Roy are in the
film, with Australian actress Emma Garnett Brown. There is a real Sukno
Lanka - Angana Bose - who never did a major role before this film, but
has impressed everyone in the cast and crew by her acting skills in a
lead role in the film. Actor Kunal Mitra, who unfortunately passed away
few weeks after the film was completed, plays a very important role in
Gaurav's other current project is the Hindi film
Spagetti 24x7 starring Mithun Chakraborty as a security guard. The film
also stars Mithunda's son Mimoh and actress Padmini Kolhapure. Spagetti
24x7 is expected to release in October of 2010.
Cast: Mithun Chakraborty as Chinu Nandy, Sabyasachi
Chakraborty as Joy Sundar Sen, Debashree Roy as Jhilik, Emma Garnett
Brown as Isabella, Angana Bose as Bela
Screenplay By: Gaurav Pandey (Writer)
Directed By: Gaurav Pandey
Produced By: Mumbai Mantra Media Limited
Shukno Lanka is a journey about forgotten dreams. It
is a story of fears, reconciliation and finally of living the magic
called life. Joy Sundar Sen is a popular award-winning film director. He
meets Isabella a young European actress in Berlin. Cutting across
divides of age and culture, Isabella and Sen Share a bond of respect and
understanding. At a book-store in Berlin, Sen and Isabella chance upon
an anthology of short stories by the Indian film maker Ritwik Ghatak. As
he browses through the book, one of the stories - Paraspathar (The
Philosopher’s Stone) begins to resonate in his mind. It is a story of a
man who seems to have hit upon a magic formula to bring people to life
back from death. Faced with his own morality, brought more sharply into
relief by the effervescent youth of Isabella, Sen decides that
Paraspathar is going to be his next film.
Chinu Nandy is a junior
artiste who has survived in an unforgiving industry. Middle aged, Nandy
has been playing bit parts in movies for several decades. Over the
course of time, Nandy has learned to accept his fate, hoping that one
day he could add as much flavour to movies as dry red chillies would to a
curry. So when Sen, back from his grand international success decides
to cast Nandy to play the lead role in Paraspathar, he is shocked and
frightened to realize a strange unimagined path that destiny seems to
open for him. But the path is not an unmitigated clear way to a dream.
humble stance on life slowly begins to rub off on those around him with
surprising results. At the last minute the producer of Paraspathar
decides to pull the disappearing act. What happens next is what Shukno
Lanka is all about.
Co- Producer: Moxie Media Pvt. Ltd.
Art Director: Indranil Ghosh.
Sound Design: Dipankar Chaki & Anirban Sengupta.
Editor: Mahadeb Shi.
Cinematographer: Mahesh Aney.