Interview - Mainak Biswas - Director with Arjun Gourisaria of Bengali Movie STHANIYA SAMBAD (2010)


Click PLAY to listen to Mainak Biswas, Film-Maker on WBRi On-Demand Audio Broadcast Service

Sthaniya Sambad Bengali Movie PosterGermantown, Maryland, Dec 5, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Mainak Biswas is one half of the director-duo of the critically acclaimed Bengali film Sthaniya Sambad (2010) along with Arjun Gourisaria (WBRi exclusive interview »). In this WBRi exclusive audio broadcsast of a chit-chat with Arijit Chakraborty, Mainak talks about his background, film-making, Sthaniya Sambad and the real or perceived resurgence in contemporary Kolkata Bengali cinema and Tollywood film industry.

Mainak Biswas is a passionate enthusiast of cinema from early childhood. He studied English at the world-renowned Jadavpur University, which incidentally is the alma mater of the founder of Washington Bangla Radio too. Subsequently, Mainak taught English at a Government-run college in India for around years, but his heart has been in the world of cinema all along.

Mainak is one of the founders of the first-of-its kind (in India) Film Studies Faculty at Jadavpur University in 1993. Of course, even before that, Mainak and his close and equally cinema-crazy buddy Arjun Gourisaria have been watching and analyzing films and had set for themselves a goal of making a great film some day. Incidentally, Arjun Gourisaria is also a JU alumnus and studied Economics there and was well-known as a great student.

Around 2008, things started to fall into place and Mainak and Arjun embarked on their journey of making Sthaniya Sambad. The film was completed towards the end of 2009 and was released in November 2010 in Kolkata and immediately started to receive rave and fasbulous audience reaction and critical acclaim. The media and fellow film-makers in India have unanimously showered praise and appreciation.

You will hear Mainak talk about Sthaniya Sambad, of course, but also of interest to Bengali cinema-lovers is Mainak's thoughts that he shares with us about the sense of a resurgence in Bengali films. Among many remarkable happening, Mainak points out the sheer increase in the number of films being produced in Bengali, as well opening up of alternative ways for finaning and producing Bengali films and the emergence of small communities of appreciative movie lovers. Also, the technological strides made mainly by the United States has reached the shores of young independent Indian film-makers, and the opportunity of picking up a camera, shooting, and editing short films on personal computers is being utilized by many these days.

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.