Director Debanik Kundu (left), who had made Rangin Godhuli with Sabyasachi Chakrabarty and Bratati Bandopadhay in 2009, tells t2 why every girl would relate to Friday release Abhiman.
Abhimaan for us all means Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s film starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri. Why did you choose Abhiman as the title of your film?
(Laughs) My film has no similarity with Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Abhimaan. My film is about the abhiman of a woman, played by Arpita. She’s a newsreader with a TV channel who believes in arranged marriage. Her life is a bed of roses until circumstances change everything overnight.
Tell us a little about the story...
This girl, Ananya, is a new bride. Her husband (played by Oriya actor Akash Das Nayek) loves her and her in-laws are fond of her. One night, there’s a riot in the city and Ananya is stranded on the street. Alone and scared, she finds shelter in the garage of Shiraj (Parambrata), who’s a thief. They spend the night together. The next morning, she returns to her in-laws. Everyone looks at her suspiciously, including her husband. They suspect Shiraj had raped her, because of the bloodstains on her sari. Her husband changes from a loving, caring friend to a hypocrite who can’t stand the sight of his wife.
|Parambrata Chattopadhyay and Arpita in Abhiman.
||Arpita and Akash in a song sequence
Is Mrinal Sen’s Ek Din Pratidin your inspiration for the film?
Not really. In Ek Din Pratidin, the backstory on why the girl (Mamata Shankar) doesn’t return home isn’t shown. Here a major portion of the film is about what happens to Ananya on the night when she doesn’t return home. Basically, through this film, I want to show that women are not free yet.... I mean they are still scoffed and scorned at for trivial mistakes. Had it been a man who went missing for a night, nobody would have raised an eyebrow. Things haven’t really changed much for women. Society is still very hypocritical. Abhiman is a film that every girl, whether in the suburbs or in the city, would relate to... they will identify with Ananya.
Parambrata and Arpita haven’t been paired in a film before...
Yes. That’s why I chose them. Though they are not romantically paired opposite each other, they become more than strangers as they spend a night in the garage. For Ananya, I wanted somebody who is not overexposed. Abhiman is Arpita’s third film after her comeback... not too many people have seen Ekti Tarar Khonje, so there’s a freshness about her. Plus, she is a very natural actress. And Parambrata, as we all know, is a very good actor.