|Parambrata explains a scene to Kamalika and Rudranil on the sets of Haowa Badal at a south Calcutta residence on Wednesday; Kamalika and Rudranil in
a fun bed scene. Pictures by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Even as ‘actor’ Parambrata’s Hemlock Society runs successfully across theatres, ‘director’ Parambrata has started shooting a film on friendship, tentatively titled Haowa Badal, with buddy and business partner Rudranil Ghosh at a south Calcutta residence. The other important cast member, Raima Sen, joins the team on Saturday after returning from London. t2 caught up with busy-bee Param on his sets on Wednesday evening.
You’ve started shooting out of the blue. Why so hush-hush?
That’s because I didn’t want a lot of people calling up and asking too many questions about what the film is about. And also because the entire decision that I’m going to make this film happened within a very short span of time. I planned the film just before I left for London in May.
Anindya Bose (of band Sahar) was still writing the script while I was in London. We would interact via email and that’s how the script was written. I came and I had just about 15-16 days to get into it. The pre-production was on. I didn’t get the time to announce it. I mean I wasn’t sure that this would be my second film. I was toying with a lot of other scripts also. But we zeroed in on this.
Indraadip Dasgupta is doing the music. The cast includes Raima Sen, Neha Panda, Rudranil Ghosh and myself. Kaushik Ganguly and Kamalika Banerjee have guest appearances.
What is the film about?
The tentative title of the film is Haowa Badal [produced jointly by RTC Productions and Workshop (run by Parambrata and Rudranil)]. It’s basically about friends. Rudra is Raj and I play Jeet. We are friends in the film but we come from very different realities. Jeet and Raj studied together and were best of friends. They meet after seven-eight years. Both are in their early 30s and they are very differently placed in life.
Jeet is quite successful, has a dream job, big car, beautiful wife, lovely kid, sprawling house.... Raj is a struggling musician, has a band of his own. He has spent some time in Mumbai where nothing really worked out. He’s come back to Calcutta, he does drugs and is a compulsive womaniser; he regularly brings different girls to his house.
And then suddenly Jeet and Raj meet and they start affecting each other’s lives tremendously. They start changing very rapidly as individuals and also their equations with their close ones change.
So the film inspired is by your and Rudranil’s real-life story?!
(Laughs) Yes, character-wise it’s similar. Our characters in the film are kind of similar to what we are in real life. There is this one part of Jeet which is slightly like Raj and a part of Raj which is like Jeet, which they discover through their renewed friendship. And it’s similar to me and Rudra, a part of me is like Rudra and I’m sure a part of him is like me! You can’t make that out when you see us because we look very different. In fact that is also another thing which I’m trying to explore in this film which is great fun.... I am trying to give Rudra a very hard time on the sets because I think Rudra’s potential as an actor is sky-high but I’ve personally felt that in the last few films he’s done he is kind of moving inside a periphery. He needs to step out a little — this is me the critic saying. I’m trying to do something else with him because there are certain things about him which people have become very familiar with. I think that shell needs to be broken.
|Neha Panda and Rudranil in a rain sequence
Is it a comedy?
Yes, it is a comedy but it is not a comedy like Bye Bye Bangkok! It is a very classical comedy because through the comic adventures that these two people go through, by the end of the film they actually come full circle and they realise a lot of truths about their respective lives and how they look at life. So their characters get transformed. In very literary terms, it’s a classical comedy.
You’ve cast Rudra and Raima, your buddies, in the lead roles...
Yes, but I didn’t cast them because of that. Their names came impulsively.
I think the most spontaneous casting was Neha’s (Panda) because I wanted a girl who’s punk-like, who looks a little doped all the time, her kajal is always smudged. But if you rip her outer facade off she is actually a very sweet girl and very cute. Neha is exactly like Inka (her character in the film) and her name popped up in my head instantly.
Raima plays Tanuka. She is married to me and we have a kid. Tanuka slowly realises that maybe the reason why their marriage sometimes misses the romance is probably because of her. She always tries to bind her husband into a routine. She wants him to run the rat race, run for money and achievements. She decides what time he should go to the gym, eat his breakfast, sit with his son for homework. But at the same time she also cribs that she doesn’t get to see the man that she married and she fails to understand that all of it is happening because of her.
I want to mention Kabir, the child artiste who plays Tojo, our son in film. He is a terrific actor and I am very happy to be working with him. He is five-and-a-half. There are some very intense father-son moments in the film.
Why have you decided to direct another film just when you are doing so well as an actor?
I don’t know. I had a lot of stories in my mind, some very big-scale films which I wanted to make. There’s been a gap of two years already (between his first film Jiyo Kaka!! and Haowa Badal). I really liked the story and I could relate to it because I keep meeting a few old friends and some of them were my best friends in school and now I see how different we’ve become, we understand that a lot has changed. It’s just not about success, it’s also about the kind of work that we do. We want to go back to each other.
I just turned 31 and I think it happens at this age when you want to look back at the last 10-12 years of your life and you see a lot has changed and if you suddenly meet a friend from Class X they think I won’t be able to recognise them which is not true and then we meet and they are like a little awkward and then they say ‘you’ve become a star’. I realise that in the last 10 years a lot has changed in my life.
See, when a man enters his 30s, I think he changes a lot. I feel like a father sometimes, a benevolent brother sometimes.... And this is a very man film, so I decided to go ahead. I have taken a month’s break to shoot the film. Raima joins us from Saturday.
You had almost finalised a film with Prosenjit in the lead...
Yes almost, but I shelved it. But I will definitely do a film with Bumbada (Prosenjit).
What expectations do you have from Paramís second film? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org