|Satish Kaushik with Tannishtha Chatterjee in Brick Lane
Mera naam hai Calendar/ Main toh chala kitchen ke andar
The cook feeding Anil Kapoors bunch of orphans in Mr India has since made many strides, but none that has left such a lasting footprint. Calendar will never get erased. As a role, it wasnt much, but somehow it made an impact. Even now, people call me by that name, Satish Kaushik says, in a voice more glum than glad. He speaks to t2 about his film Brick Lane and the titles he has chosen for UTVs 50 Movies to See Before You Die slot this month to be beamed on Thursday at 8.30pm.
Are you happy with the way Brick Lane has been released in India (one show in Metro Adlabs in Mumbai for one week)?
Kya kahun? You know, something is better than nothing. At least I am getting to talk about the film. Perhaps it was in the contract with the British company that they had to release it in India. I am used to 1,500 print releases. Here at least 5-6 prints could have been released. With good publicity it could have become another Namesake.
Brick Lane is the story of a girl. Woman stories are accepted well in India. Neither the producer nor the distributor was pushy. I feel sad as it has one of my best performances. They should have spoken to me. I am a front-ranking commercial film director. I would have ensured it got a good release. I could even have put in my own money. (A channel official later put in that efforts were on to give it a release across metros very soon, but with the film premiering on the channel on June 27, one has to see to what extent the theatre release plan materialises.)
Shouldnt it at least come to Calcutta as it was shot here and also protagonist Tannishtha Chatterjee is a Bengali?
Yes, of course. Bengali ladki hai, Bengal mein to aana hi chahiye. You know as a Bangladeshi character, I speak some Bengali in the film. I had to visit a Bengali family here regularly to get the accent. Though my character has been in Britain for 30 years, still the Bengali had to sound right. Like Victoria has to be Bhikto-ria. I even sang a song Jodi tor dak shune keu by Rabindranath Tagore.
You have worked with Rituparna Sengupta. Did you surprise her with your Bengali?
Yes. We worked together in a new film Aagah. Badi reserved ladki hai. She is not a Mumbai girl. So she did not interact much on the sets. Kaam karke chali jati thi. But she is very sweet.
What are the films you have chosen for UTV World Movies?
This Thursday (June 17), you get to see Steven Spielbergs The Color Purple. Though he is known for sci-fi, this is his first attempt at human drama. The film is Whoopi Goldbergs debut as also Oprah Winfreys. Its a heart-wrenching story of an Afro-American girl who goes through racial discrimination. I love the locations they have used.
What is the last film for the month?
Goodfellas, a Martin Scorsese film. It is the best gangster movie made after Godfather. I was honoured to have met Scorsese at Doha Film Festival, where we went for Brick Lane. It is based on a book called Wiseguy (by Nicholas Pileggi) and is a lesson in how to forego some situations and choose others for the movie. Robert De Niro and Scorsese make a great combination, which has given us Raging Bull and Taxi Driver. Here they get together with my favourite actor Joe Pesci. There is a line he keeps saying in a scene Do you think its funny? where you cant make out the violence in it.