Interview: Anik Dutta - Director, Bengali Movie BHUTER BHABISHYAT (2012): Discerning Audience Is Welcome To Read Between Lines

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ANEEK DUTTA, Writer-Director - Bengali Film Bhuter Bhabishyat (2011)Germantown, Maryland, Feb 5, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Anik Dutta is the director of the Kolkata Bengali film Bhooter Bhobisshot which will, in all probability, continue and expand on the spectacular streak of fabulous Bengali films started last year by a new crop of smart young film-makers. The story, script and lyrics are also Anik's. Bhuter Bhabishyat is Anik Dutta's first full-length feature film. Anik is presently involved in post-production for the film.

In this candid but informal chat with Subhomoy Mukherjee, Anik Dutta - who is a renowned film-maker in the advertising world - dwells upon the similarities and differences between ad films and full-length feature films, and in his unique witty way describes the challenges and opportunities drawing similarities with one-day cricket versus test matches. He also makes it very clear that he never just wanted to make any film - but wanted to make a film that he would himself love to watch as well as offer a reasonable chance for the producer to recover the investment.

Bhuter Bhobissot
A shooting still from Bhooter Bhobissot

Anik talks about a remarkable convergence of events that quite suddenly made it possible to start making his first full-length feature. With his keen insight, he describes and contrasts various artistic and commercial aspects of film-making in Kolkata with Bollywood or other regions in India.

Of course, Anik talks at length about the film Bhuter Bhabishyot and provides us glimpses of it from the director's perspective. Among the various old mansions in Calcutta in various states of dilapidation exists Chowdhury Palace - a property under dispute and pretty much not cared for other than being rented out to film production companies as a shooting location. The ghosts who live in the mansion are happy - they do not complain much about the short disturbances caused by film crews. Things take a serious turn when a promoter gets control of the property and plans on demolishing it in favor of a new construction - thus threatening the supernatural residents with homelessness. Also a film unit arrives there for shooting, and facing multiple threats including eviction, it looks like the ghosts have no option but to try to hold on to their residence with all resources they have.

Bhuter Bhobishyot  has all the ingredients of a successful commercial film, says Anik - used in a humorous way that stands a very good chance of resonating with the masses. Anik also subtly hints at the presence of deeper layers of interpretation of the film and welcomes the discerning audience to read between the lines, though he jokingly says "if I wanted to send a message, I would have sent SMS' (text messages on mobile devices)".

Anik shares with us his thoughts on attempting to categorize films (including his own) into urban or rural genres - he correctly observes it is incorrect to assume folks in rural Bengal are any less capable of visual arts comprehension than their urban counterparts (the reverse is probably closer to reality, given all the visually rich performing arts forms still actively indulged in at the suburbs and villages).

All in all, you will spend a wonderful time, as we did, listening to Anik speak in his own erudite and witty way. Please join us in wishing Anik Dutta, his crew and cast, spectacular success and continuation of the resurgence in Bengali film.

Actress Swastika Mukherjee in a still from BHUTER BHOBISHYOT
Actress Swastika Mukherjee in a still from Bhuter Bhabishyat

Anik Dutta honed his skills as a film-maker while working at the Audio Visual department of Hindusthan Thompson Associates (now J. Walter. Thompson), associating with a host of frontline ad film-makers and directing some corporate videos and T.V.Cs for the agency’s national clients. He formed an integral part of a creative team which was responsible for many memorable campaigns like Tata Steel’s ‘We also make steel’ – a landmark in Indian advertising. He wrote and conceptualized Maggi ‘Khai Khai’, which won A&M’s Best Regional TVC and Jingle awards in 1989.

Actors Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Sanyasachi Chakraborty
Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Sabyasachi Chakrabarty in Bhooter Bhabishyat

For the last 20 years, Anik has worked as an independent filmmaker with his own production companies - Bioscope, and later, Filmshop, primarily in the area of advertising. He has produced and directed several corporate videos, documentaries, promos and other software for TV channels and nearly 400 television commercials for companies like Tata Steel, ICI, ITC, SmithKline Beecham (Horlicks, Boost), Infar, SAIL, Glaxo SmithKline, Shaw Wallace (Margo), CESC Ltd., Khaitan Fans, Shalimar Coconut Oil, Chef Spices, Keo Karpin, Safed Detergent Powder, Khadim’s Footwear, Arambagh Chicken, Kwality Ice cream, Druk, Ananda Bazar Patrika, The Telegraph, Tata Telecom and Biskfarm Biscuits, to name a few. Anik is a Visiting Lecturer, Mass Communications BA degree course and Post Graduation Diploma in Integrated Marketing Communication at St. Xaviers’s College, Kolkata.

Kolkata Bengali Movie Bhuter Bhobisshot Bangla Cinema Bhuter Bhobishyat
Shooting stills from Bhuter Bhobishyat

In 2004, participating for the first time in a competitive advertising event, Anik won an award in the best original commercial category at the Srijon Samman – instituted to encourage excellence in Bengali Advertising. This competition fields entries from major advertising agencies and production companies of India and Bangladesh. Since then, Anik has won awards for six consecutive years. Juries included filmmakers like Aparna Sen, Anjan Datta, Rituporno Ghosh, cinematographer Avik Mukherjee, Actor Dhritiman Chatterji and other eminent personalities from the world of fine arts, literature, theatre and advertising. He entered Calcutta Ad Club awards for the first time in 2007 and won an award given out in the relevant category each time for the last few years.

Bhuter Bhabishyat (Bengali, 2011)


Shooting Stills

Parambrata Chatterjee
Sabyasachi Chakrabarty
Swastika Mukherjee
Mumtaz Sorcar
Samadarshi Dutta
Paran Bandhyapadhyay
Bishwajit Chakrabarty
Saswata Chatterjee
Monami Ghosh
Srilekha Mitra
Kharaj Mukherjee


A still from Bhuter Bhobishot

Director- Anik Dutta
D.O.P- Avik Mukhopadhyay
Editor- Arghyakamal Mitra
Art Director- Indranil Ghosh
Music Director- Raja Narayan Deb