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A few good men

Raj Chakraborty

Claim to fame: Chirodini... Tumi Je Aamar, starring Rahul and Priyanka

Who is he? Raj, 33, tried out the stage, acting with theatre groups Gandhar and Natya Kallol, before finding his true calling in filmmaking. “I realised I wasn’t cut out for acting... direction is what I am passionate about,” he says.

He started out by: Assisting mega serial-maker Arindam Dey. He went solo with the telefilm Noder Chaand after assisting Dey for a couple of years. He has made 18 telefilms since. Raj’s biggest small screen venture was the laugh riot Mirakkel on Zee Bangla.

How Chirodini happened: “I was thinking of making a film when Shree Venkatesh Films approached me to do one for them. I turned down the offer as I wasn’t ready for it. A year later, I was absolutely sure and confident. I was ready with the script of Chirodini, a doomed teenage love story, which Shree Venkatesh liked. Before that I learnt editing because a good director also needs to be a good editor. I went to the theatres to watch the audience reaction — what made them laugh and cry, and what they could relate to. I also watched a lot of films,” says Raj.

Watch out for: His second film Challenge with Dev and Shubhasree. “Challenge is very different from Chirodini. It’s an out-and-out commercial film. We are planning to release Challenge on Poila Baisakh next year,” says Raj, planning another love story with a twist.

His inspiration: Ritwik Ghatak and Ram Gopal Varma. “I love watching their films!” he adds.


Nilanjan

Claim to fame: Tomar Jonyo, starring Shriya, Rishi and Subrat Dutta

Who is he? The 33-year-old is a post-graduate in film direction from Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute.

He started out by: Working for Black Magic Motion Pictures. “I was the creative executive for the ETV Bangla show Rojgere Ginni,” he says. Besides, Nilanjan was an assistant director to Rituparno Ghosh in Chokher Bali and to Sarah Gavron in Brick Lane.

How Tomar Jonyo happened: Nilanjan ran from pillar to post with an off-beat script before a friend suggested that he first test the Tolly waters with a commercial film. “I realised that my first film had to have commercial viability. So I zeroed in on Tomar Jonyo, which is a commercial love story but has no dhishum-dhishum, no villain. It’s in the genre of Uttam-Suchitra films,” says Nilanjan.

Coming up next: “I am thinking of making a film that will revolve around the psychological journey of a woman. It will be completely different from my debut. That’s because I don’t want to limit myself to a particular genre. And having made a film, I can now dare to be different. Besides, there’s a change in the way Tolly producers are thinking,” he says.

His inspiration: Charlie Chaplin, Wong Kar-Wai, Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray. “I have incorporated a few things from Chaplin’s 1931 film City Lights in Tomar Jonyo,” he admits.


Rangan Chakravarty

Claim to fame: Bor Ashbe Ekhuni, starring Jisshu Sengupta and Koel Mullick

Who is he? An ad filmmaker till 1993, Rangan, 51, went to Sussex University, New York, for a Phd in music. On his return, he joined Black Magic Motion Pictures as the creative director.

Started out by: Making a couple of telefilms for his own company, Graffiti Production House.

How Bor Ashbe Ekhuni happened: During his tenure at Black Magic, Rangan had run into Nitesh Sharma of Bangla Talkies, who suggested that he direct a feature film. “I narrated the script of Bor Ashbe Ekhuni to Nitesh and he agreed to produce it,” says Rangan, who wants to make films for the “intelligent urban audience”.

Coming up: An “intelligent”, small-budget Hindi film. “I don’t think Tollywood is ready for films like Dasvidaniya or Sorry Bhai! yet. That’s why I am toying with the idea of a Hindi film,” he says.

His inspiration: Tarun Majumdar, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Ingmar Bergman. “I am a big fan of Tarun Majumdar. I also love watching Hrishikesh Mukherjee films. This is the genre I wanted to capture in Bor Ashbe Ekhuni. I have watched all Bergman films. I also love watching Wong Kar-Wai,” reveals Rangan.

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