Interview: Noted Film-Maker Bappaditya Bandopadhyay on New Bangla Movie "Nayika Sangbad", Tollywood Film Industry and More

By Awrko Roy / WBRINN

Click Play to Listen to director Bappaditya Bandopadhyay talking about Bollywood, Tollywood Kolkata Bangla Movies, Nayika Sangbad and more
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As director Bappaditya Bandhopadhaya is getting ready to present the audience with his latest film ‘Nayika Sangbad’, Washington Bangla Radio correspondent Awrko Roy engaged in a candid Chat with him where the director opened up about the film, film world and The Bengali new wave.

You are one of the elite filmmakers in Bengali film fraternity with an international exposure. What’s your take on that?

There used to be a time when Bengali films used to go abroad and become part of the major film festivals. But after a certain time, the quantity of Bengali films at major international film festivals became much less as what we expected. The kind of success that Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwick Ghatak had, in terms of world cinema, it was disappointing to see the degradation of Bengali films after that era of golden Trio before the recent New wave revived Bengali cinema again.

I have been lucky to get a few international exposure but my films have been to festivals like Montreal, Sao Paulo and others. But you know we could not reach a situation where we could create a market for Bengali films in the overseas domain. Now the present scenario is that Hindi films have marched ahead a lot and they are making many breakthroughs, and thus Bollywood has become synonymous with Indian Cinema. Bengali films on the other hand are limiting itself in to the urban audience only and time has come for Bengali cinema to go beyond that. Otherwise the industry is going to face a crisis. I am into the industry for past fifteen years and I did some small budget films also. If the situation persists like this then you cannot make meaning full cinema. It is the time for Bengali industry to make some particular breakthroughs. But unfortunately its just not happening.


Nayika Sangbad – the title of your latest film is exactly same to that of a Uttam Kumar starrer milestone movie. Is it a business strategy or a kind if inspiration from the previous one?


The title Nayika Sangbad has been chosen for a nostalgic reason. But there is a thread of connection between the two films.  I would say that the Nayika of 67 and the Nayika of 2013 are completely different individuals. Film Industry here too is the backdrop, but the most important thing is that how life has changed from 1967 to 2013. So now the trend is completely different. Now people run for fame, glitter, money etc and the roads towards success are very slippery. So there is absolutely no similarity between concepts, story and others.


Arunima is playing the central character. What made you cast her in the lead?


It was not an easy decision to cast Arunima. I was aware of the fact that Arunima is a good performer. For me the concept of Nayika is an image which we desire deep within. We could mould her much into the role than the established big stars. It was a calculated of risk but after the filming I was convinced that Arunima has done a good job. I am sure people will appreciate effort.


What is the most important asset of  Nayika Sangbad ?


I was very fond of column that Khuswant Singh used to write at one point of time, it was called “Malice towards one and all.” In Nayika Sangbad I have expressed malice’s with humor. Cinema now days are not just an art form now cinema has mixed up heavily with media houses and corporate houses. So the portrayal of the changing of cinema is the most important asset of Nayika Sangbad


While planning for a film do you give priority to audience’s reception  or your own creative satisfaction?.


The subject… I give 100% priority to the subject and everything else come later....Its about how much I believe in that subject. Most of the time I have to think about the producers choice. But always it has to be an original idea and I have to believe in my subject, otherwise I don’t think I will be able to make a film.


Share any of your funny moments while shooting Nayika Sangbad.


We hardly had some funny moments. Talking about fun on sets I must say that I am working with my cinematographer for last fifteen years. It’s like an endless adda which goes on and on. We don’t change the team, and working with these people again and again is really fun itself.


What is the most important thing that you look into an actor?


His or her commitment matters most.


Nayika Sangbad- why should the people opt for it?


There are many reasons for that, cinema itself has come up to the page one from page three. If you watch any news channel you will find many entertainment news at prime time. So I am sure people will be interested to know what goes on behind these scenes and what is the real politics behind it,


You are a part of Bengali New wave as we hear – what’s your view on that?


Is there really any new wave because I am not sure about it… because new wave in Cinema was the French New Wave where different kind of language and grammar were started to be used. So I don’t think so we are a part of any New wave. At one point Bengali films were used to be shabby, there were hardly any money to invest in them. Films were shot carelessly and we hardly used to go to outdoors, the quality of the lab was bad in that way the present scenario has improved technically. With the advent of digital technology the films got mature, a lot of cameras were introduced, in that way there is a change but in the context of content you still cannot call it a New wave.


Are we going to witness Nayika Sangbad for the international exposure like your other films did?


That is very difficult to say…We don’t plans things that this will go international or else, every film is a continuation of the earlier films that I did. In that way Nayika Sangbad is a progress. I don’t know but you can’t predict success or what is going to happen to the film. I sincerely hope the film does well with the audience.


Life is a long drive to a destination- what’s your take on that?


I have very long indeed, in fact a great time with filmmaking, and tomorrow is a release so you can see the tiredness breathing out. At the same time it is the best job. I think without cinema what could I have done till now. I won’t say that I have much money or I earn much from cinema and the best part is if I die today I would be a very happy person as I was associated with cinema (smiles). It’s not important what kind of films did I make but it’s the memories of filmmaking that I will always cherish and always cherish (smiles).


Most of the recent Bengali films are frame to frame copies of south Indian films and what’s your take on that?


I have made an entire film on this subject and it is Housefull which was released in 2007. It’s about a director who refused to copy and at one point of time he was so obsessed with his subject that he couldn’t separate what is the real and the reel life.

Cinema on my belief the basic precondition that anyone needs is originality. If you are not original you are not an artist. Originality is the basic precondition of art.


What is your message to our NRI audience regarding your film?


Do watch more Bengali cinema, do watch cinema made in the other languages of India other than Hindi because to the outer world Indian cinema is represented by Bollywood which is actually not true. Please do something for the Indian industry. I am not exactly appealing for investment, participate with the intellect help building the infra structure because what we need in India is infrastructure.


Some last words for Nayika Sangbad.


I hope everybody comes to watch Nayika Sangbad in a theatre other than watching in the DVD.