Interview: Writer Director SUBRATA SEN on Bengali Film KOYEKTI MEYER GOLPO (2012)

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Subrata Sen

Subrata Sen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cleveland, Ohio, May 3, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Arijit Chakraborty caught up with award-winning contemporary Bengali movie-making maestro Subrata Sen in this informal telephonic interview on the day of the music release of his latest film ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’. Listen to the candid chitchat with Sen as he reveals more about ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’, his first forays into film making, his future aspirations and much more.

Subrata Sen made his directorial debut in 2001 with his fabulously successful and greatly acclaimed ‘Ek Je Achhey Kanya’ which also saw the debut of actress Konkona Sen Sharma. Swapner Feriwala, Nil Nirjane, Hotath Neerar Jonnyo, Bibar (and the unreleased Nandini) continued Sen's path-breaking work as a new-age urban film-maker.

Speaking about his entry into filmmaking, Subrata Sen said that luck probably had a role to play in shaping up his career. The director had been an avid reader of the ‘Sandesh’ magazine since his childhood and had even written for the same publication later. All the while, Sen had, however, nursed a burning ambition to direct movies at some point in future. The social context and surroundings were not really conducive to take up filmmaking as a serious profession at that time, though, and Sen (who had been a student at South Point School and had studied Physics during his higher education) had gone on to become a political journalist (serving newspapers like Anandabazar Patrika and The Statesman).

Trailer: Koyekti Meyer Golpo (Bengali, 2012)

There arrives a turning point in the life of every successful man and Subrata Sen was no exception. When he was around 35 years old, his dormant aspiration of making a movie reared its head again (Sen jokingly referred to this as a ‘mid-life crisis!’). Accordingly, he started gathering funds and interacting with people from the movie fraternity. The directorial acumen that Sen had always possessed helped him realize, however, that he needed to have a tightly bound script at first. This led him to pen down the plot for ‘Ek Je Achhey Kanya’. Sen had met up with producer Sandeep Sen, who had read and approved the script. The director never had any reason to look back since!

Sen picked his second movie, ‘Swapner Feriwala’ (2002) as the one he holds closest to his heart among his films. The director, however, was quick to add that the forthcoming ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ had every potential of taking up the slot of his most favorite celluloid creation. Elaborating on his latest film, the director said that it was a somewhat ‘experimental’ movie, with a unique, non-linear narrative. ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ also would feature the use of certain technologies that have hitherto not been used in Bengali cinema.

The plot of ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ took centerstage next in the interview session. Subrata Sen explained that the movie dealt with the bold topic of high-society escort services and call-girls in Calcutta (something that has been present for quite some time, but is still considered as a social taboo, and, as such, generally kept hidden from the public eye). The director also added that ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ was certainly not a preachy film and it tackled the serious theme in a light and somewhat frivolous manner. The movie also delved into the issue of how most of these girls did not take up this dubious profession out of their own free will, but were compelled by circumstances to do so.

Kolkata Bangla Movie - Poster - Wallpaper - Koyekti Meyer Golpo (2012)

The conversation now moved along to the cast and crew details of ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’. Subrata Sen stated that most of his crew members were the same from his earlier movies. In particular, ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ had music by Chandan Roy Chowdhury and cinematography by Premendu Bikash Chaki. The movie would also be bolstered by the crisp editing of Rabiranjan Maitra. Raima Sen, Locket Chatterjee, Parno Mitra, Tanushree Chatterjee, Mumtaz Sorcar, Subrata Dutt and Shantilal Mukhopadhyay were the main members of the all-star cast of ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’. The film would also feature the debut of the young actress Minisha.

‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ was director Subrata Sen’s second film with Raima Sen (after the successful ‘Nil Nirjone’) and the former recounted with fondness at how Raima had gladly accepted his offer to star in the new film. In fact, Raima had specifically stated that, if it was a Subrata Sen-directed movie, she simply had to be a part of it!

The interviewer next asked Subrata Sen about any memorable incidents that might have happened during the outdoor shooting stints of ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’. A systematic man himself, Sen said that he preferred to adopt a planned approach while shooting his movies, thereby eliminating the chances of untoward interruptions (as much as possible, that is!). One particular day of shooting was, however, pointed out by Sen as somewhat special (the director refused to call the day ‘interesting’ though, for, if things had gone wrong, that might have had serious consequences). On that particular day, the team of ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ was supposed to shoot at a location slightly outside Kolkata. Being a day shooting schedule (during December), Sen and his cast & crew members had planned to start off from the city as early as 5 am, so that they could start shooting by 7:30/8 am. However, heavy fog had resulted in poor visibility on the roads, as a result of which the entire unit had failed to locate the shooting spot and had, in fact, moved on towards Burdwan! By the time the problem was addressed and Sen & his team reached the scheduled place, it was already 9 am! The director, quite understandably, was tense and apprehensive about whether the shooting could indeed be completed within the stipulated time-frame. However, the sheer dedication, sincerity and co-cooperativeness of all the actors had helped in the entire schedule being wrapped up within 4 pm.  Subrata Sen went to the extent of saying that such an achievement might not have been possible with another team of cast & crew members.

It was only a matter of time before the discussion turned towards the theatrical release of ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’. Sen said that the movie was supposed to hit the cinemas on either 18th or the 25th of May (all across West Bengal). The film had already been sent to the censor board too (the music release, of course, was slated on the day of the interview itself!). Subrata Sen joked that the posters of ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ were already out and there was, hence, no scope of any delay in the film’s release. He also expressed confidence that cinegoers would definitely provide a positive response to the movie.

When asked about his future plans, Subrata Sen clearly stated that he did not think of forthcoming projects before the release of his latest film (in this case, ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’!). However, the director said that he had plans to make a sequel to either ‘Ek Je Achhey Kanya’ or ‘Nil Nirjone’. Sen was candid in admitting that he did not have any scripts for these projects ready yet though.

Subrata Sen was next asked about his unreleased film, ‘Nandinee’. The director said that he had completed the shooting for the film in August 2011 and the movie had gone through the censor-related formalities too. However, as the intellectual property rights of the film lied with the producer, Sen was unable to figure out the exact reason for the delay in its theatrical release (which might have been due to distribution problems). Sen would have preferred ‘Nandinee’ to release before ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ (like all dedicated filmmakers, he wanted his movies to release in order!). The director however said that he had taken the fact that ‘Koyekti Meyer Golpo’ was releasing earlier in his stride. As he stated himself, it was all part of the experience!

Guest: Subrata Sen, Kolkata
Host: Arijit Chakraborty, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Recording, Editing: Supratim Sanyal, Washington DC, USA
Article: Penning Creations, Kolkata