Producer Shrikant Mohta, director Birsa Dasgupta and script-writer Debaloy Bhattacharya have teamed up to tickle our funny bone with a sex comedy peopled with 100 characters that rolls on the floors on September 10. A t2 chat...
Obhishopto Nighty is a wacky title for a film. Tell us more...
Birsa: It’s Obhishopto Nighty because there’s a nightie that passes from hand to hand, carrying the curse of a woman unrequited in love... she had committed suicide and now she has become a nightie in search of true love! The story goes that during a Nor’wester, a nightie lands up in an upper middle-class household in Calcutta and the wife, mother-in-law and the domestic help wear it one by one, and it’s about what happens after that. The magic is that whoever wears the nightie falls in love!
Debaloy: You can’t resist. If you wear the nightie you can’t stop yourself from falling in love.
Birsa: And the person standing in front of you can’t turn you down either. The nightie creates a ruckus but finally we see that it doesn’t work on someone.... This is a tribute to Bangali-r khaowar modhye bhaat aar porar modhye nightie! A large cross section of middle-class Bengalis have rice and wear nighties! It’s a tribute to Bengalis.
Shrikant: They (Birsa and Debaloy) had come to me with another script, a serious one. But I asked them to make something different. Obhishopto Nighty is for the urban audience. I laughed a lot when I first heard the script.
Sounds like it’s a sex comedy...
Debaloy: Yes, but we are not showing sex. It’s about the taboos. The nightie goes from family to family, it’s all over the news and even the chief minister wants to know what is happening! Anybody who wears the nightie can be a victim. It’s like what happens when a serial killer is on the loose in the city. It’s a bizarre situation where a husband knows that his wife has slept with another man and yet the one who’s to blame is a nightie and not his wife! So it’s like a strange moral condition. It’s like one of those Hollywood disaster films.
Birsa: The sex is in the dialogues and in the mind.
What’s the inspiration behind Obhishopto Nighty?
Debaloy: See, I am interested in B-grade horror films. I am a big fan of Kanti Shah. So naturally, for a very long time I wanted to write a B-grade script.
Birsa: But it will have different sensibilities.
Debaloy: We are making a B-grade film our way.
You mean you are making a refined Kanti Shah film?
Debaloy: Hmm... no. Kanti Shah is an inspiration. He is a cult figure...
Shrikant: We are talking about a different genre, something unheard of in Tollywood.
Debaloy: Kanti Shah’s Gunda is my favourite film but that doesn’t mean we are making a film like Gunda. I am using Kanti Shah as a reference point. Obhishopto Nighty is a film for the urban audience and people with refined sensibilities. But at the back of our mind, he is an inspiration. Kanti Shah is a stalwart of B-grade movies. Also, Ramsay Brothers... uff ashadharon! Veerana is fantastic.
So, much of the sleaze of the Kanti Shah movies is there in your film?
Birsa: There’s no sleaze in my film.
Debaloy: No, but the sleaze in their films is funny. For instance, you’ll see a girl bathing, wearing a red chiffon sari, and suddenly blood starts flowing from the tap! That is funny. It’s beyond bad and good. I find that funny.
Shrikant: Obhishopto Nighty is a clean laughathon from start to finish.
Take us through the stories...
Birsa: Tanusree plays a girl who comes from the suburbs to become a heroine. She wears the nightie.... I don’t want to reveal what happens then. Parambrata (Chattopadhyay) plays a journalist who comes to interview Tanusree. Miss Jojo plays Miss Boshikaran. This chapter in the film is called Totally Tollywood. Paoli (Dam) plays Miss Monica, a bar singer from the ’80s...
Debaloy: Miss Monica falls in love with a rich guy (yet to be finalised) and the two go to Puri. Their track is called Monica. The third track is Dutta Barir Hahakar, which has Neel Mukhopadhyay, Locket Chatterjee and Tanima Sen. Then there’s Puri Series around two newly-weds, played by Rahul and Priyanka. Bonu Bhanu has Laboni Sarkar and Bhaskar Banerjee. And in Breaking News, we interview a lot of random people. The other segment is Jomaloye Jibonto Nighty, which has June and Biswanath Bose... So there are various segments.
Shrikant: A lot of the dialogue is about Bengali jokes, stuff that we can’t say but enjoy listening to! Like honeymoon jokes and all that.... There are about 100 characters in the film.
Birsa: Yes, lots of characters. Kharaj Mukherjee plays a wannabe producer. Bharat Kaul plays a top producer. Arindam Sil plays the chief editor of a newspaper.
Shrikant: There’s Kanchan Mallick, NK Salil, Biswajit Chakraborty, Paran Bandopadhyay...
Who’s scoring the music?
Birsa: Indraadip Dasgupta.
Debaloy: We are trying to create a new sound.
Birsa: So, apart from the title, there’s nothing B-grade about the film.
Shrikant: What’s in a name? People have gone to see a film titled The Dirty Picture, so there. The language of cinema is changing.
Shrikant, Birsa’s last two films — 033 and Jaani Dekha Hobey — didn’t work. Why did you decide to team up with him despite that?
Shrikant: To me, it doesn’t matter. It’s a question of good script. If there’s a good script and if we are confident, we go ahead irrespective of whether one’s films have worked or not. The biggest star of this film is the story and we have done the casting accordingly. We don’t need a big star for a project like this. This film will work because it’s a new genre. It’s an entertainer.
Debaloy: How long can you go on making films on extramarital affairs?
Shrikant: What new can you add to that? It’s been done to death. To tell a new story, you have to have a different subject.
Birsa: Obhishopto Nighty has got all the commercial elements.