Interview | Madhuja Mukherjee - Screenplay writer of Bengali Movie EKTI TARAR KHONJE / STARS NEVER SLEEP (2010)


Audio: Click play to listen to Madhuja Mukherjee interview

Bengali Film EKTI TARAR KHONJE Screenplay and Production by Madhuja Mukherjee

Washington Bangla Radio thanks Anamitra Roy for facilitating this interview.

Madhuja Mukherjee teaches in the Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University, Kolkata and is the author of the book New Theatres Ltd. published by NFAI, Pune. She has done extensive research on visual cultures and delivered lectures on cinema at various international conferences held at UK, Turkey, Hong Kong, Singapore etc. She has published articles on Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan et al. Madhuja has studied films, literature, music and art.

Besides Ekti Tarar Khonje (for which she has the screenplay, art design and production design), Madhuja has completed scripts for feature films to be directed by Anup Singh, Geneva (for Heimat Film Production, Germany). Lately she has co-directed an experimental video Re-take, and a short film Red Orchid on 35 mm. She has also illustrated graphic stories Threads, Yellow Leaves and Paro, her story published in a journal for comic works from Kolkata, India.  

In this informal and intimate interview hosted by Arijit Chakraborty of Washington Bangla Radio, Madhuja talks about herself, her interests, cinema, audience response to films and describes in a very interesting way how she sees the world of movies in general. About Ekti Tarar Khonje, Madhuja, being the screen-play writer and art/production designer, tells us great stories about the movie - like how she moved her own furniture and stuff for the right visual composition of the scenes. Of particular interest is her take of peculiarities of the room of the somewhat unusual person seen in the film - and the messages the objects in the room - pictures of insects next to showbiz personalities, for example - are intended to convey.

Ekti Tarar Khonje is a film that has caused a debate in the Bengali film audience after decades - folks are passionately discussing and dissecting the film. The great film-maker Mrinal Sen actually went to a theater and watched the film - which by itself says a lot about the film's effect of causing a break in Bengali cinema, as Madhuja puts it.

Madhuja talks about the presence of several characters the purpose of them, melodramatic dialogue as opposed to functional dialogue, usage of mise-en-scene as a part of story-telling, cultures of quotation in popular films, and attempting to place ETK (Ekti Tarar Khonje) in the realm of contemporary cinema. She would like to see a director's cut, and urges Avik Mukherjee to make one.