Interview: Film-maker Anindo Banerjee on Bengali Movie CHAPLIN (2011)

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[ANINDYA BANERJEE - Tollywood Calcutta Bengali Movie CHAPLIN]Washington, DC, Feb 26, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Film-maker Anindo Banerjee chats with Arijit Chakraborty in this informal and intimate chit-chat and presents us with a colorful sketch of his fascinating journey from the hallowed classrooms of Jadavpur University to the Bengali film Chaplin and beyond.

Anindo was pursuing a masters degree in Comparative Literature at JU and was naturally a big enthusiast of performing arts forms, particularly film, when he chanced upon an opportunity work with a television production house. Needless to say, he jumped at the opportunity and started learning hands-on about film-making with the production house. Anindo talks about his long stint in production, and how the work he did and the role he played was of an executive producer, though that designation was not in circulation those days. He subsequently started working as a full-fledged production controller.

While Anindo was working as a production controller, Mumbai-based film-maker Ravi Ojha arrived in Kolkata to make the Alpha Bangla TV drama show "Ek Akasher Niche". Ravi appointed a assistant director and left for Mumbai, with Anindo as the production controller. Matters became murky after a month when the assistant director moved out of the project, and a worried Ravi flew into Kolkata to try to control the crisis, at which time Anindo stepped up and told Ravi that Anindo would assist Ravi till the time another assistant director was found. Since Anindo had taken the time to read the script and knew very well the status of the production, he was, of course, a boon to the continuation of the show. As matters turned out, no other assistant director became necessary, and after a month, a contended Ravi flew back to Mumbai leaving the responsibility of direction in the able hands of Anindo! Eventually Anindo directed hundreds of episodes of Ek Akasher Niche. Thus, as Anindo puts it, his becoming a director is quite accidental.

Around this time, Anindo also directed a film based on Rabindranath Tagore's Nishithe for Channel 8 (Akash Bangla) - a production that Anindo feels one of his personal best so far. Anindo also enjoyed and fondly remembers directing Ekdin Pratidin for ZEE Bangla, Ekhane Akash Neel for STAR Jalsha.

Coming to Anindo Banerjee's first full-length Bengali feature film Chaplin, Anindo tells us a story about how Padmanabha Dasgupta, the writer of Chaplin, once attended a birthday party of a friend of his son, and came across a professional entertainer at the party who was impersonating Charlie Chaplin. Padmanabha was surprised to watch the entertainer pick up a candy from the floor when he thought no one was looking - it appeared as if the entertainer had a child at home and also was perhaps financially challenged. The seed for the story of Chaplin was sowed right then. Later on, Rudranil Ghosh would also assist in completing the story of the film, and Orion Entertainment - who are well known for their innovative approach - would decide to produce the film.

Anindo talks about the special contributions of Rudranil Ghosh, Mir and the child-actor Soham who is a 5th grade student. Especially interesting is Anindo's appreciation of remarkable on and off-camera behavior of Soham and the amazing cooperation the young actor offered the unit.

Chaplin is essentially an emotional tale of the relationship between a father and his son. We wish the Chaplin team and Orion Entertainment great success for the film.