|(Top) Rituparna and Rajesh do their snake charmer act
on the sets of Bedeni in Purulia’s Dungri;
(above) Anjan Das explains a shot to Indraneil and Rituparna
About 20km from Purulia town, on the rock-and-pebble terrain of Dungri, director Anjan Das and his team are fighting the blazing sun to shoot Bedeni with Rituparna Sengupta, Indraneil Sengupta and Rajesh Sharma.
A huge circus tent has sprung up over 10 acres to form the backdrop to this film revolving around the sexual dalliances of a snake charmers wife.
Shoot begins early morning to avoid the strong afternoon sun but the heat has already taken a toll on the captain of the ship. I am running a temperature and Ive got dust allergy too. Its very hot here but I wanted
this location. I couldnt find such a vast stretch of rough land in Bolpur even after a lot of scouting, says Das.
The leading lady, however, is unruffled by the heat and dust. Caked in layers of dark make-up and wearing heavy junk jewellery, Rituparna breaks into jhatkas and matkas with a smile just as the camera pans towards her.
My character, Radhika, is a woman full of lust and desire. Its very challenging to play this role. Besides, Anjanda made me swim in slush and I swallowed so much mud! The role needs me to utter a lot of expletives and I think I am becoming very unsophisticated, she laughs.
Rituparna decided to co-produce Bedeni (with Heartbeatz) because of her role and the Tarashankar Bandopadhyay story.
When Anjanda narrated the script to me, I jumped because it revolves around a profession which is almost extinct now. Plus, I want to do films based on literature. Im awestruck by this story which was written at a time when women were forced to stay indoors. But Radhika is a rebel. Shes very determined, a go-getter... and thats something I identify with her. Radhika is a lot like me, reveals Rituparna, munching apple and grapes inside her air-conditioned make-up van.
The two men — Rajesh, who plays Radhikas live-in partner, and Indraneil, a circus ringmaster who Radhika secretly desires — wait for their cues. Ritu and I have been friends since our Paromitar Ekdin days.... Bedeni is a difficult film for me too because I have to walk barefoot on these hot cobbled paths, says Rajesh.
Perched on a motorcycle, Indraneil says the ringmasters role is a great one to have come his way. My strategy is to choose different kinds of films and here I play the owner of Pyarilal Circus. Im learning a lot. Rituparna is a sweetheart! he says.