Interview - Arjun Gourisaria - Award Winning Film Director-Editor-Producer Bengali Movie STHANIYA SAMBAD (2010) PATALGHAR (2003)


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Sthaniya Sambad Bengali Movie Poster

Germantown, Maryland, Dec 4, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Arjun Gourisaria and Mainak Biswas have directed the Bengali film Sthaniya Sambad (2010) that has received rave reviews and audience reactions across the board. In this informal, comprehensive and intimate audio chit-chat with Arijit Chakraborty, Arjun talks about his background, thoughts, experience and career in film making leading upto the spectacular Sthaniya Sambad.

In addition to directing Sthaniya Sambad, Arjun is also a producer as well as the editor of the film. As you probably know, Arjun has previously produced and edited the Bengali sci-fi fantasy cult film PATALGHAR (2003) [buy Bengali movie DVD] adapted from a story by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and directed by Abhijit Choudhury with a star-cast of Biplab Chatterjee, Soumitra Chatterjee, Ketaki Dutta, Monu Mukherjee, Mita Vasisht and more.

Patalghar - Kolkata Bengali Sci-Fi MovieArjun Gourisaria was born and brought up in Kolkata and has ancestral roots in Narayangunj near Dhaka now in Bangladesh. Having lost his father at a very young age, Arjun was brought up by his mother and eventually studied in Jadavpur Univeristy, Kolkata where he met his close friend and fellow-director Mainak Biswas.

Arjun has always had a fascination for cinema from a very young age and he and Mainak are a film-crazy pair, as Arjun fondly says. After JU, Arjun went on to Pune to study film-making at the renowed Film and Television Institute of India.

After returning from Pune, Arjun started making great advertisement films as well as editing and performing various crafts in the domain of cinema. He produced and edited Patalghar that was released in 2003, and also made of couple of other films. After about nine years from their last film together, Mainak and Arjun came together and made Sthaniya Sambad.

You will hear Arjun describing their joyous and eventful experience of making Patalghar as perhaps their most memorable experience, and that is because Patalghar was their first film. Arjun beautifully describes when at a time when working very hard in the field of advertising shorts, how they put their hearts and their best craftmanship into Patalghar with a sense of fulfilment of their love for films. The name of their production company - Black Magic Motion Pictures Ltd. - itself provides clues towards the euphoric experience of the making of Patalghar.

TIN EKKE TIN Bengali Movie DVDAmar Pratigya Bengali Movie DVDAfter Patalghar and before Sthaniya Sambad, Arjun mentions a couple of film productions in the intervening seven years - Tin Ekke Tin (2004) [buy DVD] starring Nilanjana, Koneenika, Sreelekha Mitra, Tapas Pal, Badshah Maitra, Subhendu Chatterjee, directed by Malay Bhattacharya, and the commercial film Amar Pratigya (2008) [buy DVD] starring Priyanshu Chatterjee, Priyanka Trivedi, Laboni Sarkar, Dulal Lahiri, Rajatava Dutta etc. directed by Swapan Saha.

Arjun Gourisaria's earlier films as an editor include Let The Rest of The World Go By (1994) about a senior community in Calcutta, A Film Called Kalighat on the famous temple, and many others. He won the Indian Documentary Producers Association (IDPA) Award for editing the cricially acclaimed 2007 film Tanvir Ka Safarnama - a documentary on Habib Tanvir.

Coming to Sthaniya Sambad, Arjun says the script of Sthaniya Sambad was actually written quite a few years ago - as far back as around the time Patalghar was being made. Arjun thinks the fact that both he and Mainak being perfectionists may have something to do with the time it took to wrap up Sthaniya Sambad !

Arjun then describes Sthaniya Sambad in a way that only a director with his unique perspective can that you have to listen to. In brief, Mainak and Arjun basically wanted to make a film about the city of Kolkata and though there is, of course, a story line, the film is in many ways a story of the city itself. Having seen many cities of different economic and geographical varieties, and then looking at contemporary Bengali films, Mainak and Arjun had this feeling that somehow Bengali cinema was disproportionaltely depicting the affluent upper-class Kolkata. Though this privileged Kolkata does absolutely exist, Sthaniya Sambad attempts to portray the equally real "other Kolkata".

Listen to the entire audio interview for a fascinating account by an award-winning editor-producer-director of a film that is creating waves in Bengali cinema.

Sthaniya Sambad (English Title: Spring In The Colony) released in Nandan Cinema Theater's Nanadan-I hall in Kolkata on Nov 26, 2010 to immense applause. The star-cast is lead by Anirban Dutta, Suman Mukhopadhyay (WBRi interview), Bratya Basu (interview), Nayana Palit and others.

Synopsis of the Bengali Film Sthaniya Sambad with English Subtitles:

Situated on the southern fringes of Calcutta, the bustling, sunny Deshbandhu colony, a settlement of refugees from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), has a lot going on.

In the evening market, two thieves swoop on Ananya's long plait and chop it away. Atin, the dreamy poet and Ananya's secret admirer, is worried not to find her anywhere the next day. He seems oblivious of the fact that his home is facing demolition. Meanwhile, their friends make preparations for the coming spring festival.

The two poachers of Ananya's plait want to sell it to raise money for a computer course. They are desperate to pursue higher education - by any means.

Five boys on a roadside perch make desultory observations on the goings on, losing no chance to confuse Atin. Two old men, original immigrants, sit at the local grocery philosophizing on commodities, life and desire.

As Atin, along with his only friend Dipankar, sets out in search of Ananya, and the two thieves embark on an increasingly absurd journey to try and sell the plait, the story travels from the colony of the day to the neon districts of the night, and then to the ghostly New Town under construction, tracing out the map of a city through realism and delirium.

Somewhere along the path, Dipankar tells Atin about Ananya's family buying an apartment in the new building that is about to raze their colony tenements to the ground.

By daybreak, they are on the eastern fringes of the new Calcutta. Draped in the midnight fog stands Mr. Paul, the visionary land shark, whose demolition team is warming up for action at Deshbandhu colony. As his house gets destroyed in the small hours of the morning, Atin comes and greets Mr. Paul.