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Since 1st March, 1999
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Man’s world
Raima Sen

Acontroversy is not what Kaushik Ganguly has in mind as he gears up for Chhaya Chhobi, a film on homosexuality which will also mark the debut of his filmmaker friend Rituparno Ghosh as an actor.

A t2 chat...

Why did you choose a topic like homosexuality?

I had done a telefilm called Ushno Tar Jonyo, which was on lesbianism. People had liked it a lot and I was very surprised. So, I thought why not make a film on this subject? Chhaya Chhobi is about a society that doesn’t accept or can’t define a third gender. People make fun of a man who speaks like a woman. I want to explore what goes on in the mind and the heart of such a man, what his love and crises are all about. A man who is sexually attracted to another man, and not a woman, is a serious biological and psychological issue. I feel responsible to portray the emotional side of homosexuals.

Who is your target audience?

Chhaya Chhobi is not for the suburban audience. It’s a very urban film and it will have a very good international market. Third gender is a sensitive issue. I am not making a Dostana.

Rituparno Ghosh

How do you think people will react to such a film?

If people could accept Ushno Tar Jonyo five years back, then why not now? There have been quite a few films on this subject in the past five years. People are more prepared than before and I think Calcutta is more ready than any other metro. Even Paromitar Ekdin had hinted at this kind of a relationship. Shunye E Buke was about a flat-chested woman and a lot of young girls had seen it. It’s about how you present your film.

Why have you cast Rituparno?

Because Rituda (Rituparno) is a tremendous actor. I am honouring his acting skills. When I thought of casting someone as a homosexual character, a woman in a man’s body, it’s Rituda who first came to my mind. I had also thought of Onir. I can’t think of Karan Johar; it’s not very practical. The point is Rituda carries a weight as a director in Calcutta. His kind of personality, his features, eyes, face, eyebrows are all very important. The character has to look beautiful. It’s very important that he should look good. There has to be a point of attraction. That magnetism is there in Rituda.

Is the character modelled on Rituparno?

Not at all. The character is very, very different from what Rituda is like in real life. It’s different from the way Rituda talks or walks or the kind of clothes he wears. Rituda will have to work very hard to get into the character, though he plays a filmmaker in Chhaya Chhobi. He will have to change the way he talks and walks for the sake of the character. Otherwise, Rituda wouldn’t have taken up the role either.

Kaushik Ganguly

Do you think no other actor can play the part?

I don’t know. I have doubts about how intensely any other actor would be able to portray the character. Or, if he would at all believe in the subject. Rituda believes in the script. He trusts me. When he didn’t like my films, he openly criticised them. Rituda has liked Jackpot and has seen my telefilms too. When I narrated the script and said that I wanted to cast him, Rituda kept quiet for 10-15 minutes and said that the subject was beautiful and if he had to act once in his life it would be in this film. He said that he was not an actor but he would act because he had never thought of a subject like this. See, Chhaya Chhobi is a love story, the way Saawariya is a love story. But the love is between two men.

Who are the characters?

Rahul Bose plays the cameraperson in the film. He is married but is bisexual. Churni (Ganguly) plays his wife. Raima (Sen) is a researcher. Rituda and Rahul’s characters are in a relationship.

When will you start shooting?

After the Pujas in October. The sets and costumes play an important role. Indranil Ghosh will design the sets.

Kushali Nag

What are your views on homosexuality in films? Tell

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