Actor-Film Maker Biswajit Chatterjee on his New Movie on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose (WBRi Interview)

By J P Mandal,WBRINN (newsdesk.kolkata@washingtonbanglaradio.com)

Biswajit Chatterjee
Biswajit Chatterjee directing a shot for his biopic on Netaji

Bollywood icon Biswajit Chattterjee who wooed the audience with his killer looks and brilliant performances in Hindi films like ‘Bees Saal baad’, ‘Night in London’ and ‘Aasra’ is excited about his dream project - a Biopic on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. Biswajit Chatterjee captured the first shot of the movie on 23rd January, the birth anniversary of the great Indian leader. Chatterjee took out time for WBRi correspondent Jyoti Prakash Mandal in spite of his busy schedule and spoke at length about his dream project. Excerpts:

Biswajit and Ira Chatterjee with children Prosenjit, Pryma and Pallavi at the Chatterjee Family Durga Puja - WBRi Exclusive

WBRi: What has made Netaji your dream project?

Biswajit: Netaji is one of the greatest leaders, not only in the history of India but also of the world. It is really hard to find another leader who can match Netaji’s feat. His life is also full of adventures which even no fiction can match. He has travelled the world in number of disguises. He has travelled around the world through toughest of routes and mode of transportation.  He has boarded Aeroplanes to Submarines to do that and all this happened during the most difficult and dangerous period of World History. His life was an amazing journey. Though a few projects on Netaji has been done But I have never found The Netaji I have dreamed to see on screen. Never the full flavor of Netaji’s life was captured in any of them. I have dreamt for long to bring all those journeys and adventures of our great leader on screen. This is my biggest dream project.

WBRi: This is not your first project on Netaji. Why are you so obsessed with Netaji?

Biswajit: I am big fan of Netaji and cannot have enough of exploring the great soul. I have previously made a documentary On Netaji which was titled ‘Amar Netaji’ (Immortal Netaji). I had made it during the year 1997, the centenary birthday anniversary. Next I made a Television series on him. This the third time I am working on him. I want to make a film which will make people know how really the journey of Netaji’s life was. Netaji had been a phenomenal world leader. I want to make such a film that would remain as a record to the coming generations what Netaji’s dream and achievements were.

WBRi: Please share the details of the cast in the film.

Biswajit: Though I cannot divulge many details about the cast, I can say that I am in the process of finalizing the cast at this moment. I will have only those who can best get into their respective characters.  I have larger than life characters like Gandhiji, Nehru, Hitler, Lenin, Vivekananda and many others. Many big names from Bollywood are being explored for different roles but I cannot reveal them at this moment. Netaji will be played by three actors who will depict three stages of his life. The first one will be child actor depicting Netaji’s childhood. Next will be a slightly older Subhas who portray his days in Cambridge University and the rest of the portion the lead actor will play the role. I am also trying to take characters from all over India as the struggle was of every single indian.

WBRi: Your research on Netaji.

Biswajit Chatterjee
Biswajit Chatterjee directing his Netaji biopic

Biswajit: My research has been done by a historian who specializes on Netaji. His name is Alok Krishna Chakrabarty. He has even written many books on Netaji through his research. I too had a few inputs through my own research.

WBRi: Netaji’s life has too many things to depict in one movie. Which aspects of his life will your film focus on?

Biswajit: Netaji is basically going to be an adventurous war film. Three wars involving Netaji are the highlights of the film. One film gives very little screen time compared to such a huge journey. So I need to be selective about which portions I highlight in the film. This film will focus on how big army man military leader and military strategist he was. The film will focus on the sacrifices he made and the hardship he went through for the cause of the nation. This film will also reveal that how much he was ignored and downplayed by other political leaders at different times. The major part of the film will based on Netaji’s activities from 1941-1945 when the Second World War as at its peak and so was Netaji’s mission.

WBRi: How will you sketch the death of Netaji which is still wrapped in mysteries and controversies?

Biswajit: I would not show anything which is part of controversy. We will bypass those controversies in this film. How we shall do that one will know after watching the film.

WBRi: Tell us about the music of the film

Biswajit: My film will has three songs. We have already recorded ‘Vande mataram’ with Sukhwinder singh. The other two songs will be ‘Qadam Qadam baṛāē jā’ which is the original song of INA composed by Ram Singh Thakudi. The third song will be ‘Shubhas Ji Shubhas ji’.  I have approached Lata Mangeshkar ji for that song. We have yet not locked down about who will compose the back ground score.

WBRi: Netaji is not only an icon in India but also in the world. Are you planning a worldwide release keeping that in mind?

Biswajit: Yes I want to design the film for global audience. Initially it is going to be a trilingual film it will have three versions, Bengali, Hindi and English. We are also planning to send to a few festivals around the world. We will definitely try to release it as many countries as possible. The movie can be dubbed according to requirements.

Netaji’s life journey has taken to many places around the world. Is the shoot of the film going to happen around so many places?

Biswajit: The film will be shot extensively in Kolkata, Subhashgram, Delhi and a few places in abroad. Some parts of Pakistan will be recreated in India for the shoot.

WBRi: It has been widely accused that a major Political party of India has always tried to supress attempts of exposing truth about Netaji. How will you react if same happens to you?

Biswajit: I am well aware of this possibility though have not received any such pressure yet. I don’t care about such pressure. I will keep walking my chosen path, come whatever may. Netaji has been neglected, downplayed and sometimes insulted by different political leaders Netaji. After the reported deaths of Netaji, their family members were spied on. Every government has fiddled with the reports and documents on Netaji for their own political motive rather than revealing the truth. My film will also carry a voice of protest against all these.

WBRi: Are any of your three children Prosenjit, Pallavi and Pryma involved in this film?

Biswajit: I cannot say about that this moment. Only Netaji is the major character and all other has very little roles to do. So I have to be careful before roping in too many big names as we need to just to their roles.

WBRi: When do you expect to release the film?

Biswajit: This film is being made on a huge canvas and will take time to execute. Still we are hopeful to release it in early 2017, probably on Netaji’s birthday.