Interview: Award-Winning Director Aniruddha Roychowdhury Talks About Bengali Film APARAJITA TUMI (2011)

By Bidisha Bagchi

Click on PLAY to listen to Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury talk to Bidisha on WBRi

Michigan, March 2, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Mr Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury is a respected name in the World of Cinema. His first two films Anuranan (resonance) and Antaheen (the endless wait) have been widely accepted by the audience worldwide and have even been bestowed the national film award in India. His films talk about life and human relationships that people from all spheres of life can relate to…today, Mr. Roychowdhury or Tony da, as he is lovingly called by all, has kindly agreed to spare a couple of minutes from his busy schedule and talk about his upcoming film Aparajita (the undefeated) to WBRi

Your last two films Anuranan and Antaheen, both dealt with human relationships. What is Aparajita all about? Would you like to share a little about the cast of your film?

Well, the film is at a very early stage. It is based on a story by Sunil Ganguly, ‘Dui nari Hatey Torobari.’ It is basically my take of the story. This also deals with human relationships but seen from a different angle. Since the shoot has not yet started, it would be difficult to say in details. But basically it is a story of two couples, of moral judgment, of what is right or wrong. It deals with neither the black nor the white sides of a relationship but something in between which we can call grey.

Cast is Prasenjit Chatterjee, Padmapriya and Kamalinee (both from South India) Chandan Roy Sanyal, Kalyan Roy and Soumitro Chatterjee in a special role. We are still finalizing the cast.

Prasenjit Chatterjee is a superstar. I quite liked one of his dialogues in his recent film ‘Autograph’ where he said, ‘I am Arun Chatterjee, I am the industry.’ He is in fact ‘the’ industry. How do you feel about working with this superstar?

We have not yet started shooting for the film but I know him from a long time and I am feeling good about it. In fact, in this film he is a common man, not a superstar. When I make a film, at one point all characters come alive and the ‘star’ element becomes insignificant. He is an accommodating artist and wants to do good films. When the shooting starts the chemistry will gradually build up.

Like your earlier films will the music and the cinematography be done by Shantanu Moitra and Avik Mukhopadhyay?

Yes, Shantanu would do the music for ‘Aparajita’ too; in fact we have already recorded 4 or 5 songs. For ‘Anuranan’ cinematography was by Sunil Patel, for ‘Antaheen’ it was Avik, but for this film it is going to be Ranjan Palit.

You have always had your locations chosen very meticulously. In Anuranan we saw the sweeping vistas of North Bengal and in Antaheen you showed us the Calcutta which lots of NRIs like me have long forgotten. How do you decide on these locations?

The location is totally dependent on the story. If the story demands it, it will be there. If you want you can even find some beauty in murky waters. Calcutta and the mountains, Kanchenjunga are both my favorite, so I showed them in films.

You started your career with ad films and you have worked with some very big brands. Which is the one that you enjoyed the most?

Long back I had made an ad film for Bangladesh Coke and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There are many films that I enjoyed making. In fact, if the story has an emotional touch in it, I like to make a film on it. And if a film has a heart, I quite enjoy it.

An ad film is just a clip of 30 to 40 seconds , how did the transition go when you made a full length feature film?

Well, jokingly it can be said that one is a fling and the other is a marriage. The two are so different. In ad films I have to narrate a story in 30 seconds whereas in a film it has to be 3 hours long, need to go deeper into the subject. The two are different disciplines altogether. Ad films have taught me more detailing, the grammar of making films.

For both Anuranan and Antaheen, you have chosen actors and actresses who do not belong to the Bengali film industry; Rajat Kapoor and Radhika Apte. Both these actors did exceptionally well, how did you make this choice?

Basically, I need to like the face of that person. If that face matches with my story, which I can say from the eyes of the artist…they are in.

So you have seen the characters of your film in both Padmapriya and Kamalinee? What about Rahul Bose

Yes, I have. Well Rahul Bose is a very good friend of mine. His integrity is very strong and it is a pleasure working with him. But he is not in this film.

Are you planning to produce any more films after Ekti Tarar khonje?

No, nothing for now. I want to direct a few films.

Tony da, each one of us, during our childhood get influenced by some story or film. Is there anything that has influenced you?

Oh yes, there are plenty. Notably Gone with the Wind, the sound of music, and a few hindi films like  hathi mere sathi and do anjane and of course a Bengali film ‘Baksho Badal’ and sometimes I wish to do this film.

I know this would be a very silly question to ask, but how did you feel when Anuranan was declared the best film in the national Awards ceremony, did you expect the film to pick up this award? and how did it feel once again to go up to the dais to take the best film award for Antaheen?

No, I never expected it to be awarded. I make films for the audience but when the film got the award, I was indeed very happy. Same with Antaheen, got lot of encouragement from the fact that it too was awarded.

We, the audience and admirers of your films would be expecting another award for Aparajita too. Do you have anything to say to our readers & listeners?

Yes, I would like to say, please watch Bengali Films and listen to Bengali music. Please do not go for pirated DVDs. A lot of money and effort goes into making a good film and it is very sad if the film reaches the audience through wrong hands. Databazar media has now come up with certified copies of films, please use their service to watch films. Please also go to the theaters to watch films.

Thank you very much Tony da, we wish you all the best for your upcoming film.

Thank You, we need you good wishes.

Trailer - Aparajita Tumi

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