Interview: Director Raja Chanda on Bangla Movies JAANEMAN (Soham-Koel), CHALLENGE 2 (Dev-Pooja) and Tollywood Film Industry

Click Play to listen to Raja Chanda chat with Sayantanee Dutt
WBRi On-Demand Radio Broadcast Service

Raja Chanda: Kolkata Bangla Movie Writer Director

Fremont, CA, May 17, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Tollywood Kolkata Bangla movie writer-director Raja Chanda returns to WBRi to chat with Sayantanee Dutt in this exclusive audio interview about his new movie Jaaneman (2012) and his next project CHALLENGE 2 (2012).

Janeman (2012) is Raja Chanda's third Bangla movie after Target and Le Halue Le (previous interview). The film, written by N K Salil, is primarily a Tollywood romance drama featuring Soham as the hero and Koel Mullick as the heroine. Unlike other recent commercial flicks, there is no disapproval from family with the lovers running away. Deba (Soham) and Ria (Koyel Mullick) fall in love at first sight. They draw closer in Kolkata, but neither Deba nor Ria manage to express their feelings - in a way, Jaaneman is a story of unexpressed love. Raja points out there has been no Bengali film along the storyline of Janeman before now.

Jaaneman is the result of passionate film-making on Raja's part. Raja has been thinking of making a love story as his 3rd film. His first feature film Target: The Final Mission (Bengali, 2010) [DVD Release] was an out and out action movie starring Mithun Chakraborty, Joy, Sayantika Banerjee, Dipankar Dey, Shyamal Dutta, Santu Mukherjee, Biswajit Chakraborty, Sonali Chowdhury, Neel Mukherjee and more. His next film, Le Halua Le (Bengali, 2011) [DVD Release] was a comedy starring Mithun Chakraborty, Hiran Chatterjee, Soham, Payel Sarkar, Laboni Sarkar, Rajatava Dutta, Locket Chatterjee, Kharaj Mukherjee, Kanchan Mullick and others.

One of the reasons behind the widespread interest in Janeman is Soham will be seen as an action hero in the film for the first time, moving away from a pure romantic hero image he has created thus far. Raja is himself responsbile for this transition, and stresses that an action hero has really much less to do with screaming, fighting and jumping than actually performing a character as an actor. Raja believes Soham has top-notch acting skills in today's Bangla film industry with an impeccable sense of timing and expression. Though Soham does not have a body-builder's sculpted body, he is far ahead of the pack in terms of acting and Raja is confident Soham is the man for the role he plays in Jaaneman.

Raja is personally a great fan of actress Koel Mullick and has watched her career unfold from the very beginning. Koel is a bright jovial person herself, but her role of Ria in Janeman is of a serious, somewhat confused girl in trouble who is struggling to chart a future. In addition to Soham and Koel, Ashish Vidyarthi also appears in the film in an important role.

Coming to the music, there are five film songs - one in a discotheque and two love songs shot in picturesque locations in Switzerland. Talking about Switzerland, Raja describes how shooting there also pulled huge crowds which actually broke into spontaneous dancing when shooting was progressing!

Raja's next film - CHALLENGE 2 - is about to get into the pre-production phase in a couple of days. A sequel to Raj Chakraborty's 2009 blockbuster "Challenge" [DVD Release] starring Dev - Subhashree Ganguly, Challenge-2 will feature Dev and Pooja Bose (interview). Raja hints at a pujo 2012 release of Challenge 2 and shares a few thoughts about the film.

Raja is also much appreciative of Sri Venkatesh Films and Surinder Films, and describes how the folks from these studios are not only financiers, but active participants in film-making, helping out even in lugging gear at locations.

Talking about the general state of Bengali film industry, Raja is a bit worried about the current trends that separate commercial and crossover / parallel films, and in another way, rural and urban films. Raja shares candidly his thoughts on the ill effects of such differentiation, pointing out this is unique to Bangla films only - Bollywood and south Indian movies are all watched by everyone.

Watch the trailer of Jaaneman (Bengali, 2012).

- Article by Supratim Sanyal

An ardent recitation and elocution enthusiast, RJ Sayantanee Dutt lives in Fremont, CA and writes and anchors Pashchimi's popular Bangla radio show "Robibarer Ashor" on Radio Zindagi 1550 AM broadcasting in the San Francisco Bay area.