The film: Aparna Sen’s The Japanese Wife, adapted from a short story by Kunal Basu. The team is on the third schedule.
The set: A part of Bharat Lakshmi Studio was turned into a bazaar at Gosaba in the Sunderbans last week. Set designer Gautam Basu had left no stone unturned to recreate the feel of a busy market bustling with people. On offer were brass and silver utensils, plastic mugs, fresh vegetables to paan shops and kites. “Gosaba is an isolated village in the Sunderbans. We had thought of shooting the scene in the market area in Gosaba but since we would need a whole day, we decided to recreate it on the sets,” said a production member.
The moment: Day 2 of The Japanese Wife is quite chaotic. The set is teeming with junior artistes (people who will play customers in the bazaar), the sun is blazing down and director Aparna Sen is tired of putting things in order. “Bottle-green shirt, please look in the front!” she screamed at one of them on the mike.
The lead shoppers: Are Rahul Bose and Raima Sen. The two have come to the bazaar to buy some household goods.
Raima Sen doesn’t mind being a Plain Jane for the sake of a good role. She is Sandhya, a widow with a son, in The Japanese Wife. “I like to look believable in the roles I portray. Now, a widow can’t wear lots of make-up and colourful saris!” said she.
Make no mistake, this ageing bespectacled man clutching an umbrella is Rahul Bose. He is Snehamoy, the math schoolteacher in a Sunderbans village who has a long-distance marital relationship with a Japanese girl. “I am around 45 years old in the film now and so I sport a wig to look older,” said Rahul, with a smile.
With both Raima and Rahul looking bogged down by life, the eye candy on Aparna Sen’s set was this Japanese gudiya. Chigusa Takaku breezed in in a green tunic with hoops, beaded strings and coloured hair (that was shaved later for a scene). She romped around the set with a handycam to catch the making of the film. Chigusa plays Miyage, the Japanese girl married to Snehamoy whom she never meets.
Pictures by Aranya Sen