Interview: Writer-Director Raja Chanda on Bengali Movie LE HALUA LE (2011): "The Title Says it All - A Bindaas Comedy Film"

Host: Arijit Chakraborty
Article by: Supratim Sanyal

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Washington, DC, June 27, 2011 (Washington Bangla Radio) Bengali film writer-director Raja Chanda is currently working on his second movie - a Bengali film with the interesting title of "Le Halua Le". Arijit Chakraborty chats with Raja in this audio interview where the film-maker talks about his background and his previous and ongoing Tollywood film projects, and of course, about his debut film "Target" and his second film "Le Halua Le".

Listen to the director share a few glimpses into "Le Halua Le", a hilarious tale - "comedy of errors" - of the characters misunderstanding others and being misunderstood themselves. The cast is big, but all the characters are interconnected in interesting ways, though each has his or her own little story, too. The climax of the film is huge - the entire cast shows up together and all misunderstandings are resolved.

"Le Halua Le" will probably have four Bengali film songs. Raja indicates they are shooting for a Durga Puja 2011 release of the film.

Do not miss Raja's story of shooting with superstar Mithun Chakraborty - that too outdoor shooting in Hyderabad - where Mithun-da showed up fifteen minutes before his call time, fully ready with make up and thus putting enormous pressure on Raja and his crew! Amazingly, Raja managed to finish shooting with Mithun-da a whole day ahead of schedule. Not only that, Mithun-da also had some remarkable comments on Raja's tendency to use a trolley mounted camera for almost all outdoor shots (because, as Raja puts it, he likes moving shots).

Raja has been an adept and passionate writer from his early days. His entry into the world of cinema was, naturally, as a script-writer. Starting off with writing scripts and leveraging his natural skills in creating jingles for commercial products, Raja quickly moved into film-making as an advertising filmmaker with over four hundred Indian and Bangladeshi ad films in Kolkata and Mumbai to his credit, as well as writing and directing many successful television serials for Bengali TV Channels.

Raja's first full-length Bengali feature film "TARGET - The Final Mission" opened in 2010 with a star cast of Mithun Chakraborty, Joy Mukherjee, Sayantika, Dipankar De, Santu Mukherjee, Biswajit Chakraborty, Sonali Choudhury, Neel Mukherjee and others and music by Jeet Ganguly. Raja talks in depth about Target, and expresses his appreciation for Gautam Kundu, chairman of Rose Valley Films with whom Raja has been associated with from 2006, making advertisement and corporate documentary movies produced by Rose Valley. It was Gautam who first floated the concept of a film with Raja as the writer-director. Raja, though a bit surprised at first, took up the project enthusiastically. TARGET has elements of action, romance and social issues and everything fell into place by the time the film opened in theaters. The film turned out to be a great Tollywood hit. Raja is particularly fond of Mithun Chakraborty's portrayal of the character of Anthony in the film.

Raja shares with us the history of roping in Mithun-da in his films. Listen to him describe how he heard concerned voices of a hundred people about he being a first-time filmmaker and Mithun Chakraborty being one of India's greatest actors. But, somewhere deep inside Raja firmly believed that Mithun-da is, at his core, an artist, and Raja being a film-maker, had no reason to be unable to direct an artist however great his stature might be. Well - his confidence worked. Not only that, Raja describes how Mithun-da provided invaluable inputs which was of immense help to Raja in making the film.

As in his first feature film, Raja's second movie also stars Mithun-da with Laboni Sarkar, Locket Chatterjee, Hiran Chatterjee, Payel Sarkar, Soham Chakraborty, Aritra Dutta Banik (child actor), Kharaj Mukherjee, Rajatava Dutta, Kanchan Mullick, Subhasish, Shantilal Mukherjee and others. The music director is Jeet Ganguly with whom Raja has worked for many years now - Raja touches upon his special bonding with Jeet and his wife Chandrani.

Raja was actually working on another film titled Bullet when Shree Venkatesh Films got in touch with him about making Le Halua Le. He tells us how the opportunuty of making a film produced by Shree Venkatesh Films is a very big deal for today's Kolkata-based directors - not just because the production house has a tendency of producing super-hits in Bengali Cinema - but also their chiefs, including Mahendra Soni and Srikant Mohta are addicted to cinema themselves!

Raja decided to make a comedy film as his 2nd film, partly on the suggestion of Mithun Chakraborty - a decision that comes with it's own challenges for Raja since it is not easy to make an endearing comedy movie. TARGET was a fast-moving film with a rather shorter duration than most Bengali feature films - and Raja indicates he will try to maintain the pace and keep his second film also of similar duration.

Arijit Chakraborty is a singer, actor and elocutionist from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Supratim Sanyal is the founder, CEO and CTO of WBRi Inc., one of whose services is this online radio station and web portal.

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