| Prosenjit in a scene from Raktabandhan
Mumbai, Sept. 2: Is Tollywood moving out of Tollywood'
A Bengali blockbuster — featuring “superstar” Prosenjit, Ranjit Mullick, Rachana Banerjee, Laboni Sarkar and Sabyasachi Chakraborty — is being shot almost entirely in a Mumbai studio.
The entire cast of Raktabandhan — which promises to be a formula Tollywood tearjerker on the conflict between two brothers — has been imported to Mumbai and is staying put in various hotels in the city to shoot at a stretch for 35 days. All outdoor locations will also be shot from here.
“Almost 90 per cent of the film will be shot in Mumbai. Only those scenes that require a Calcutta taxi, or billboard, or a typical Calcutta street, will be shot in Calcutta,” says Mumbai-based producer Mukesh Srivastava.
“The idea is to give my film a different look. We didn’t want the film to look like a regular Bengali film,” says Srivastava, who makes trailers for films and has produced a Chattisgarhi film. “We are using the best equipment and camera.”
“This is the first time that an entire Bengali film is being shot in Mumbai, at least in the recent past. Pehlaj Nihalani had shot a Bengali film here but that was about a decade ago and had Bollywood actors,” says Prosenjit, who plays the “wronged and illegitimate son” of Ranjit Mullick.
The only concession to Bollywood is actor Ronit Roy, who plays Prosenjit’s elder brother, but even Roy is “six-Bengali-films old”.
“This is a sign of the times. Films are required to look different now,” says Prosenjit, who points out that more and more films are moving out of Tollywood. “A lot of Bengali films are shot in Chennai. Parts of many films have been shot in Mumbai also — especially song and dance sequences and fights. But Raktabandhan is being shot almost in full in a Mumbai studio.”
For shooting in Mumbai, the production cost has gone up considerably. The budget for the film will cross Rs 1 crore, while a big-budget Bengali film shot in Calcutta costs around Rs 70-80 lakh.
It’s a risk worth taking, feels the producer and the cast, for whom working in a Mumbai studio is a pleasure. “There’s no lack of talent in Calcutta. We have very good technicians. But we don’t have any facility in the studios. We don’t even have proper lights,” rues Prosenjit.
But they also insist that things are changing in Tollywood.
“If this film is worth Rs 1 crore plus, the average budget for the Bengali film has gone up leaps and bounds. Now they cost around Rs 80 lakh. Films started earlier on a Rs 12-14 lakh budget have been shelved,” says Sabyasachi Chakraborty, who plays the villain in Raktabandhan.
“There is also an interest in upgrading technology in Calcutta. Rs 90 lakh has been invested to renovate the theatres Minerva, Bijoli and Chhabighar and now almost all Bengali films are on cinemascope, too,” adds Prosenjit.