WBRi Interview: ADITYA ROY BANERJEE - director, "IT’S BOSONTO" Bengali Movie

By Sovan Chakrabarty and Asmita Mukherjee, WBRINN

Actress Ritabhari Chakrabarty and actor Mainak Banerjee in New Bangla Movie IT'S BOSHONTO
Ritabhari Chakrabarty and actor Mainak Banerjee in a still from IT'S BOSONTO (Bengali, 2016)

Kolkata, March 9 (Washington Bangla Radio) - Debutante director Aditya Roy Banerjee is all set with his upcoming movie “ITS BOSONTO” that opens in theatres on 11th March. Washington Bangla Radio correspondent Sovan Chakrabarty had a candid chat with the director who has also played a major role in the film. Excerpts:

WBRi :The title It’s Bosonto is quite offbeat. What is the significance of the title of the film?

Aditya: Nowadays the Bengali film audience focuses more on a film’s storyline and plot rather than getting too much into its name, though the title is always an integral part of a film being a gateway to the film. “It’s Bosonto” which literally means It’s Spring is a cute romantic comedy with a touch of retro and metro. The title has been chosen in awareness of it being quite innovative. Spring, since time immemorial has been a metaphor for love. The film will depict if anyone thinks it is the right time to love, then certainly it is. Hence “It’s Bosonto”, rather it’s the right time to love your loved one if you feel so.

Read: IT'S BOSHONTO New Bangla Movie Music Release

WBRi: Here you coin an interesting term “touch of retro and metro”. Please explain that for the audience.

The film will show a love story of the 1960s between two lovers (enacted by Paran Bandyopadhyay and Lily Chakraborty). Though they part ways then and find each other again in 2015. Now they think after all these years it is the perfect time for them to unite. Here you get the two - retro and metro. Also alongside this love story we have a love story of a couple of today’s generation (enacted by Priyanka Sarkar and Aditya Roy Banerjee) that is hitched by a cell phone. You know how prized a possession of a cell phone is to every individual now. Hence two love stories of different times,  periods quite sum  up this retro- metro thing.

WBRi: Reports say that a cell-phone has been used in the pivotal role, tell us something about that.

Rupam Islam and Aditya Roy Banerjee
Aditya Roy Banerjee and Rupam Islam

Aditya: Yes, the mobile or cell phone will definitely have an interesting role in the film. Cell phone has always been served as a bridge of communication between friends, family, loved ones, even strangers. But to know what it does in my film, one has to visit the theatre and check out. (smiles)

WBRi: How did you hit upon the story? How long did it take  to pen down the story and make the script?

Initially two stories came to my minds, one about the utility and craze of mobile phones while the second being related to love and the lover’s age. So when these two came together the entire story got set.

The scripting was done by Pele Bhattacharya. It started around the beginning of 2015, say January and took six months for completion. Though I did some corrections and added a notch here and there afterwards. The script is a film’s backbone hence special attention was given. I will focus on making ‘Art-Commercial’ cinema in this film and my future projects as well. It is a unique trial of making art house cinema into a commercial hit.

WBRi: How did you select your character actors for the film?

After I finished the scripting of the film I was very rigid to take Paran Bandyopadhyay as one of the protagonists. Even he knows that I might have had this project dropped if he had not worked. That role was tailor made for him. I even had stopped shooting for around 4 months when he was unwell. But luckily he joined. He helped me in developing the character and taught me a lot about films. Even Lily Chakraborty portrayed the perfect and pure form of love.

WBRi: What were the locations used for the film?

The film has been entirely shot in Bengal. Burdwan. Midnapore and of course the city of Kolkata has been used. The film will depict a never before seen location of southern Bengal. I hope the audience will like it.

WBRi:  What was the budget of the film?

The budget was around 70-75 lacs. Around 50 lacs was the making cost and the rest was for marketing and distribution.

WBRi:  How long did the shooting process take? Any memorable experience with the actors while shooting.

The shooting started in August 2015 and went on up to December2015 with the final sequence shot in Kolkata.

Talking of shooting, it was really a wholesome experience. Working with stalwarts like Paran Bandyopadhyay, Lily Chakraborty was indeed awesome; they helped me inside out while shooting. I learnt a lot from them. As it is my debut venture I expected it to be quite a challenging  task. But with the help of actors like Priyanka, Ritabhari and Mainak the shooting went very smoothly. Paran da was very entertaining and was a splendid motivator of mine on the sets.

WBRi:  Coming to the next question, we see just a handful of actor-director in Indian cinema as directors say it is a very difficult job to master. In your debut film we see you as an actor-director, how challenging was it?

I was into acting previously, but this was completely done on the recommendation of my casting director. Initially I was very reluctant to act, but he convinced me to do the role as I would know the character better than any actor would. Hence I took up this challenge.

But it is my love for directing films that brought me here from Mumbai, where I used to work as a Civil Engineer. Out of sheer hunger for creativity I came to Kolkata to make films. I would want to continue as a director as a primary choice but if other directors approach me to act as characters, in their film, I would happily work.

WBRi:  How is the film different from other films? What is your film’s USP?

The film is a complete family movie (with no steamy contents) that will serve an audience of all age bars. The spectators will be able to relate the whereabouts of the plots with their own lives. The film also has several rib tickling comic reliefs that the audience will enjoy to the fullest. The film also has lovely melodious music. This is quite the USP of “It’s Bosonto”.

WBRi:  Talking of music, the film sees a female music director, Adrita Jhinuk composing music, was that a bold step according to you as we don’t get to see so nowadays?

Listen to IT'S BASONTO Title Track by RUPAM ISLAM

The music of a film is very important and integral part of today’s cinema. And yes today we don’t see any female music directors in Indian cinema. But I think we should impart our vision on talent rather than sexual barriers. Adrita who is new to the industry has worked brilliantly on the films music and the audience is reciprocating their love. Adrita worked in the film as a pro and bossed her job pretty well. She never looked a novice. I really liked her fresh thinking. She gelled very well with the likes of Rupam Islam, Rupankar and Madhura.

WBRi:  Elucidate on the roles of the technicians in “It’s Bosonto”? Tell us something about your technical team.

The technicians were very good as a team. The film is a perfect example of a team game. My DOP, editor, cast and crew, production manager, assistant directors, choreographer and everybody adhered to their roles pretty well. Wherever the film stands today it is for their effort and diligent hard work.

WBRi:  What are your expectations from the film?

I want the film to be loved by the audience, other acclaims come second always. It is for the people I made the film and if they like it there is nothing more precious than that. Business was not my target initially and even now I want a creative acclaim more than anything. Though I hope the film will make good business. Fingers crossed.

WBRi:  What is ‘success’ for you? Do you think awards are necessary for a film’s success?

Success for me will come when the audience will recall my name as a good actor and a better director.

Awards though are good for inspiration but do not always showcase a film’s class and quality.

WBRi: What are your future plans?

I would like to work more and more on films. My next film “Phirey Esho Ekbar” is scheduled to commence shooting from May. I will also work for advertisements in the near future.

I personally was not very well off economically in my earlier days. Hence, I would want to work for the underprivileged people who need help so that they can lead a better life, and nurture their creativity and talent.