| (Top) Prosenjit and Konkona, who play man and wife; (below) Rituparno discusses a shot with his leading man
After Chokher Bali, Raincoat and Antarmahal, you are finally returning to a contemporary urban milieu with Dosar'
Well, it wasn't a conscious or deliberate decision to make a contemporary film, but after Chokher Bali and Antarmahal, and with Saheb Bibi Ghulam coming up, I had got a little tired of period films. In Dosar, I am on familiar territory. In fact, the idea of the film ' about this couple that gets caught ' was there within me for some time. It's inspired from a real-life incident where the straying husband and the woman he has an affair with die in an accident. And his wife comes to know about the relationship only at that point. I was curious to know what could be the resolution to such a problem had one of them been alive.
You have touched upon the theme of marital infidelity in some of your films ' Utsab, Chokher Bali, Raincoat...' but does Dosar explore it in greater detail'
I had a role model for Utsab in Shakha Proshakha where there is a family unit and there are several subplots. But for Dosar, I didn't have any model to fall back on.
And Dosar is a film not on marital infidelity, but rather about marital infidelity. I haven't shown any big affair happening between the two main characters. It's more about one incident influencing other incidents and the aspect of infidelity being caught through many couples. There are two families ' of Prosenjit and Chandrayee ' and there is a series of events that unfolds. Then there's Parambrata and Pallavi in a relationship... The issue of infidelity has been seen from various perspectives.
I decided to tell the story from the perspective of Chandrayee's eight-year-old son. Chandrayee is the other woman in Prosenjit's life who dies in the accident. We shot the accident scene in Raichak and the crowd which had gathered to see the shooting became part of the accident scene.
Why did you opt for black and white to make Dosar'
I didn't find the need to use colour in this film. In fact, I didn't think I needed to use colour for some of my other films too. The use of black and white in Dosar is not a gimmick. Creatively, black and white gave me the umbrella colour to join all the incidents and disparate elements in the film. The film begins with one relationship, keeps progressing with many relationships and then comes back to the first relationship.
What kind of problems did you face while working in this colour format'
Working in black and white is a tough proposition as the positives are very expensive and not easily available. Besides, most of us don't have the eye to see things in black and white. In the Dosar team, only Abhik (Mukhopadhyay) and Prosenjit have had some experience with black and white before.
And working in black and white needs a lot of thought. For instance, knowing the kind of texture and colours that would come out properly. So, we would shoot the interiors and costumes in back and white and see how it looked.
Did you find any change in Konkona the actress from the days of Titli'
It's Konkona's second film with me and also her next Bengali film after Titli. And I must say she has grown a lot. She has matured as an actress and has developed a directorial eye.
Both Konkona and Prosenjit have done an excellent job. Prosenjit actually sat with a doctor and worked out the details of his healing stages. I feel that if you can motivate them a little, actors can do a fine job.
Is there any background score for Dosar'
Yes there is and the music is very different. The background music has been done by a band called 21 Grams. They have also done the music for my next release Khela.
| Prosenjit and Konkona Sen Sharma (below) in Dosar
A senior corporate executive with a loving wife at home falls for a colleague in office. But his best-kept secret slips out the day the lovers meet with an accident ' she dies, but he survives. Dosar, Rituparno Ghosh's urbane tale of infidelity and its ramifications on a marital relationship, starts at the crossroads of an uneasy past and a fractured present in the wedded life of his star actors Prosenjit and Konkona Sen Sharma. And all in stark black and white.
The director had his reasons for choosing the B&W idiom, while he and his technical team went through the trial and error of creating a world without colours.
Abhik Mukhopadhyay, the man behind the camera, didn't want a retro mood to rule the film. 'This film is about a modern relationship seen from a modern viewpoint. So, one had to give the impression that it wasn't a dated film. Black and white has a straightforwardness about it. Colour creates a lot of associations with things, while black and white is more abstract, which helped in the story-telling of Dosar,' feels Abhik, the only technician in the crew to have worked in black and white (in his FTII days).
As the costumes and art direction needed a lot more thought than usual, the crew shot costumes and interiors with a Handycam, converted it into black-and-white and checked out if the results were satisfactory.
Producer Planman Motion Pictures had a trying time organising the raw stock. 'We looked everywhere in the country but there wasn't enough black-and-white stock to complete a film. So we placed an order with Kodak which procured the stock for us from Japan. There was a repeat of the problem during post-production as there were hardly any laboratories fully equipped to handle a black-and-white film. Finally, it was done at a studio in Mumbai,' says Subho Shekhar Bhattacharya, CEO, Planman Motion Pictures. The Delhi-based company led by Arindam Chaudhuri had earlier backed Bengali projects like Anjan Das's Saanjhbatir Roopkathara and Faltu.
For the past few days, the billboard-plastered cityscape, normally a riot of colours, has an interesting addition ' stylised blow-ups in black and white. The visual campaign for Dosar offers novelty in every detailing, from text to the texture. The carefully crafted campaign series has been conceptualised by Response.
'When we saw the first cut of the film it struck me that it was a very unusual Rituparno Ghosh film. It's a wonderful urbane film which does not tell an elaborate story. So we decided to blend the emotions. For the billboards, we had carefully chosen black-and-white shots of crucial emotional moments that hinted at the complex relationships. To break the monotony, we devised the vertical format. The font for Dosar in Bengali has been converted from the English font Gill-sans,' says Arindam Nandy, chief creative officer. That apart, the publicity blitz consists of road shows and a black-and-white photography exhibition at The Park hotel.
The film, to release on Poila Baisakh, also stars Chandrayee Ghosh, Shankar Chakraborty, Parambrata Chatterjee, Pallavi Chatterjee, Saswata Chatterjee and Tota Roy Chowdhury.