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Buoyed by the creative and box-office high Bengali cinema is currently experiencing, Mumbai-based TV producer Ashwani Sharma has taken the plunge into Tollywood. His Impact Films is producing Suman Ghosh’s third film, Nobel Chor. Sharma comes with 10 years of experience in producing daily soaps for regional television in Maharashtra.

“For the last two years, I’ve been looking at ideas for a film that would be more interesting and challenging than television. I had met Suman at the International Film Festival of India in Goa in 2009, where I watched Dwando and we talked about doing something together. We kept in touch and when I called him last year, he told me about a script he had written on Tagore’s Nobel theft, which I found very interesting,” says Sharma.

For homework, Sharma made a trip to Calcutta and did a market survey only to find that “more and more people are patronising Bengali films”. “There’s a large audience that is going to the halls. People here spend their money on good food and good films,” he says. “After Aarekti Premer Galpo, Gorosthanay Sabdhaan, Bomkesh Bakshi and Autograph, which have all been box-office successes, I expect Nobel Chor to do well because it has that potential.”

Sharma believes the subject of Nobel Chor has a mass connect. “Nobel Chor is a fictional account of a real incident that everyone knows about. And Mithun fits into the character of a farmer so well. He also has a mass appeal. I believe a film should be made for a wider audience. It should have the power to capture people’s psyche the way a Hindi film like Guzaarish does,” he adds.

Back home, there’s a Marathi film in the pipeline. Nobel Chor is targeting a Puja release. How it fares, Sharma says, will be the “deciding factor” on whether he will produce more films in Bengali or not. “But I’m pretty sure I will,” he signs off.

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