Film Preview: Abishek Mukherjee's ARDHANGINI (2012) Bengali Movie - Rati Agnihotri, Mahesh Manjrekar, Meghna, Kanchana

Rati AgnihotriCalcutta, January 28, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio / Penning Creations) Being on the sets of “Ardhangini’ at Moon City in Kolkata turned out to be a fulfilling experience altogether. What immediately made the proceedings interesting was that the film had in it popular faces from the Mumbai and Marathi film industries. The cast of ‘Ardhingini’ includes among others, such people as Mahesh Manjrekar, Rati Agnihotri, Meghna and Bengali actress Kanchana. The film is being directed by the relative newbie Abishek Mukherjee.

At her informal press meet on the sets, the evergreen Rati Agnihotri mentioned how delighted she was to be working in the Bengali film industry.  Although she did confess that the language was an issue and while she often fumbled at certain syllables, she was also confident of improving her Bangla in a few years, given her earlier flawless attempts at Tamil, Telegu and Kannada. Taking about the kind of films she wishes to be part of, she voiced her preference for the “real cinema” and portraying strong female characters on screen. About ‘Ardhangini ‘, she revealed that it was “a love story with a difference” and not the run-of-the-mill stuff we usually get to see. The brief press meet was abruptly halted as she had to rush back to the sets for the commencement of the shoot.

Mahesh Manjrekar
Mahesh Manjrekar

Abhishek Mukherjee
Abhishek Mukherjee

After the day’s pack-up we had the opportunity of a brief meeting with the stalwart Mahesh Manjrekar. Swaggering towards the fleet of cameras and microphones in the hands of their curious owners, he appeared a tad withdrawn and exhausted after the day’s shoot. As he fixed a spot to hold his ground, a flurry of questions hit him. Being reserved, he immediately slowed down the pace and began answering them one by one. Working in the Bengali industry definitely excited him and “I find a lot of similarities between the Bengali and Marathi cultures”, said the veteran actor-director who recently directed the popular Bengali film ‘Ami Subhash Bolchi”. He also cited Satyajit Ray’s ‘Pather Panchali’ as a major inspiration for him to take up the camera professionally. When asked what about Kolkata attracted him the most he mentioned the cuisine and “the beautiful Bengali girls”. Talking about his character in the film he informed that he plays a strict and idealistic father of the lead girl.

A press meeting with the director gave us the much needed information we needed about the Tollywood Kolkata Bengali movie. Abishek Mukherjee, the director and writer of ‘Ardhangini’ said that it was a love story spanning over a decade and dealt with the issue of a long-standing family rivalry turning into a stumbling block for the fraught lovers. He mentioned that although the subject was canonical, his treatment of it would be very different.  Mahesh Manjrekar plays the father to the girl while Rati Agnihotri plays her mother in the film. Some of the songs in the film will be sung by the popular voices of Raghab and Jojo.

With its eclectic cast and crew and a strong hint of Shakespearean subject matter to back it up, ‘Ardhangini’ promises to be a film worth waiting for.


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