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Real yet unreal
(From left) Jisshu, Bipasha, Prosenjit, Pauli and Sohag. Pictures by Aranya Sen

After a film-within-a-film with Shakespeare at the centre, Rituparno Ghosh has returned to the floors with a few characters real and unreal. His Shob Charitro Kalponik, starring Prosenjit, Jisshu Sengupta, Pauli Dam and Sohag Sen, also marks Bollywood star Bipasha Basu’s debut in Bengali films.

A t2 chat with Rituparno...

What is the storyline of Shob Charitro Kalponik?

I had written the story a long time back. It is about a girl, an NRB (non-resident Bengali) rediscovering her roots after returning to her poet husband in Calcutta. It is a story of death and loss with many emotional and romantic moments.

The language is Bengali interspersed with English. Poetry plays a key role in the film. It may sound philosophical but you can call it a film that focuses greatly on the Bengali heritage and culture as well as Bengali poetry.

The film’s title is interesting...

The title suggests the strong presence of an imaginary world to which all the characters belong. But we may change the title later. The English version, as of now, is called All Characters Imaginary/Fictitious.

Whose poetry are you using?

Joy Goswami has written all the poems for Prosenjit’s character, who is a poet. Some of these are excerpts of old poems and some Joyda has written exclusively for the film.

Rituparno Ghosh

Tell us about the cast and crew...

Bipasha is the protagonist Radhika. She is married to a poet, Indranil, played by Prosenjit. There’s Sohag Sen as Nanda’r Ma. She is an old retainer of their house and belongs to the class of people I’ve explored in films like Bariwali. There is a deep bond between Nanda’r Ma and Radhika and Sohagdi creates certain moments that I’ve never had in any of my films. Jisshu is Shekhar, Bipasha’s colleague in an NGO, and Pauli is Kajori, a mysterious character that I cannot disclose.

Samik Halder is behind the camera and Arghyakamal Mitra will do the editing. Sanjoy Das and Raja Narayan Deb will score the music, which will have a lot of folk, modern sounds and also a song by Lalan.

Why did you choose Bipasha for this role?

We had a meeting in Mumbai sometime back when I read out a small portion of the story to Bonnie (Bipasha). She was ready to do the role. But she was a little scared of the shokto Bangla that she’d have to learn for some of the dialogues. Having lived outside Calcutta for many years, Bonnie is helping us understand Radhika better. The mannerisms come naturally to her. There may be a slip in the use of an article or preposition when she’s speaking Bengali, but I don’t take that as a mistake. She seems real.

Bollywood women get a different look in your films. What about Bipasha?

Women always have an ethnic look in my films. For Ash (Aishwarya Rai) and Preity (Zinta), I didn’t need to make a conscious effort to make them look different. They fitted the characters they were playing. In Shob Charitro Kalponik, Bipasha is fond of saris. She’s an urban Bengali woman with an ethnic core. It wasn’t something conscious on my part to change her image nor is she doing the film for a different look.

How is the Bipasha-Prosenjit screen chemistry?

This whole idea of screen chemistry is highly exaggerated. I think it’s more about the overall chemistry on the sets and I think that is very strong in our unit.

(Which is your favourite Rituparno film? Tell

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