Moushumi Chatterjee with Shrabanti
Thank God I have a BlackBerry. If my friend Seema had not been after me to get one, two-and-a half-years ago, I would never have filed these stories on time. Today as I rush through the wild schedule of Goynar Baksho, it is my BlackBerry that reminds me of several things as I multitask and manage to write in between shots.
Thank God for technology!
After 15 days of non-stop shooting, we had a break. While I caught up with home and other necessities, I missed the shoot.
We are back at Roybari. By now we have covered the courtyard, the terrace, the balconies, the dalan, rooms, stairs, windows, doors, tiles, grilles, pillars and more. We have invoked lost memories and surprised silence whispering in corners.
The protagonist in Goynar Baksho is the vision of the film-maker (Aparna Sen). And every character has a role to play. Even a two-minute appearance adds a new dimension to the story. Every camera angle enhances the tale and adds colour. An array of characters, including seven child artistes. Four outdoors and the studio of course. Several journeys, many meals, numerous hours, hundred people working away.
But we also get breaks. While the light and camera department set up, as angles change, some of us sometimes get time. A word on the light and camera guys. They are quite incredible! I don’t know when they are not working. Everyone in production wakes up before all of us, preparing for the day and planning ahead. The art department works through the rare off-days, preparing sets. The assistants are all planning throughout, playing around with schedules.
The director herself has more energy than all of us put together! So we played dumb charades the other day. Everyone is eating jilipi and amriti obsessively every day! Rinadi (Aparna) is planning a picnic, bonfire night and I’m not sure what else. We have just completed a month and we are all looking forward to the next one month — in Andul, Murshidabad and Bolpur. Trains, cars, fields, rivers. Such a beautiful clutter of history, geography, science, math, technology. This is why we went to school, why education is imperative. Why experience in different fields is important. We grow and learn. We experiment.
Goynar Baksho has three radical women who break rules. Moushumi Chatterjee born in the 1800s, Konkona born in the 1930s and Shrabanti born in the 1950s. They all make changes. Pishima makes changes after she is dead as a ghost. They challenge set norms.
We are all feeling nostalgic as we will be leaving Roybari and today is the last day here. The winter sun reflected warm images during the day and the night is slightly chilly.
It is full moon, as Chaitali (Shrabanti) and Pishima chat away, smoking happily. They talk about revolutions and wars, about young rebels and dreamers. It is 1971. Bangladesh fighting for independence. But that story will come later. The camera is moving on a circular track, as a young, thinking girl chats with an old ghost. Rinadi is happy with the final take.
In the distance we can hear the conch shell as there is arati going on in the thakurghar of Roybari on the opposite terrace. For the last 250 years Narayan has been worshipped here, protecting the family, of which only five members still reside in the house. A house with 50 to 60 rooms. A mansion with two courtyards. A Rajbari with achievements. A home with people.
This is quaint, real, a dream. And cinema brings it to life.