Interviews, Features, Events, Bengali & Indian Performing Arts & Artist Reviews

Interview | Director GAURAV PANDEY - Shukno Lanka (2010) Bengali movie | Audio

Gaurav Pandey - SUKNO LONKAMithun Chakraborty

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 in Esplanade.

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 (erstwhile Bombay).

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.

Gaurav subsequently 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).

Debasree Roy & SabyasachiAnd then, Shukno Lanka (Bengali, 2010).

The 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.

Kunal Mitra 
and Angana BoseThe 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.

Emma BrownThe 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 Shukno Lanka.

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.

SHUKNO LANKA
Bengali, 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
Plot Outline:

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.

Chinu’s 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.


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