The Telegraph
Saturday , December 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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He’s back where he belongs — a joint family set-up in a north Calcutta house. On the sets of Ganesh Talkies, Anjan Dutt chatted with t2 about his new film and more.

You are shooting in the same house where you had shot Dutta Vs Dutta and you almost have the same cast too — Rita Kayral, Biswajit Chakraborty, Shankar Chakraborty. What is Ganesh Talkies about?

Ganesh Talkies is a wedding film, basically. When I saw Monsoon Wedding, I was very keen to make a film like that. Ganesh Talkies (produced by Reliance Entertainment) isn’t stylistically like Monsoon Wedding but that flavour is there.

It’s about two friends, Rajesh Sharma and Biswajit Chakraborty, and their families and a wedding is taking place. It’s like an old-fashioned family drama. Lots of characters, lots of idiosyncrasies, different types of people.... Rajesh and Biswajit have grown up together since school and they share a lot of love. Rajesh is a Marwari and Biswajit is a Bengali. Rajesh has a lot of money and is financing Biswajit’s daughter’s (Raima Sen) marriage because this Bengali family is going through bad times now. Rajesh is there to help him out. The story spans three-four days and as the story progresses there is chaos and tension.

I always wanted to do a wedding film. Bow Barracks (Forever), Dutta Vs Dutta, Chalo Let’s Go… had a lot of characters. I love doing these kinds of family dramas. I’ve seen these hidden tensions and also the immense love between the two communities. I wanted to enjoy and celebrate that. Marwaris are culturally inseparable from us but Bengalis call them ‘Mero’ and ‘Meros’ think Bengalis are poor businessmen. I want to explore this fun element. There are two marriages in the film — one is the main wedding of Raima, the other is between the domestic helps of the two families, played by Koneenica Banerjee and Taranga.

Raima and Chandan Roy Sanyal are an unusual pair...

I always want to work with interesting actors. I feel that an interesting cast at least changes the texture of the film. I needed a non-Bengali guy to play Arjun. Though Chandan is a Bengali, there’s a non-Bengaliness to him. I always like casting someone who’s usually not expected to be cast in that role. That’s why I had paired Lillete Dubey with Victor (Banerjee in Bow Barracks Forever).

After Dutta Vs Dutta, everybody is saying that Rono (Ronodeep Bose) was the ideal choice. Chandan has a dark, villainish persona in Bombay and in Bengali films too he hasn’t played a romantic character. I thought why not give him a romantic role. You can call it an adventure. The same adventure has made me cast Rita (Kayral) as the mother (in Dutta Vs Dutta and in Ganesh Talkies). I thought Chandan and Raima would be an interesting pair rather than a conventional pair. It could have been a Jisshu (Sengupta)-Raima or a Param (Parambrata Chattopadhyay)-Raima. But I don’t think people would accept Param as a non-Bengali quickly. Here Raima is also not the Raima of The Bong Connection. Her character is slightly more edgy, fiery....

You seem to have a thing for this Amherst Street house. You had also shot Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbona here.

I have a thing for old houses. We are shooting Ganesh Talkies in two houses — Jimmy Laha Bari and here. This kind of a story requires old houses, thakurdalan… there aren’t too many old houses in Calcutta anymore. I have grown up in an old house.... I can’t write stories that take place in flats or apartments. I feel very claustrophobic.

So you live out that joint family atmosphere on your sets...

Yes, you are right. I miss it and in my films I live it. I miss my aunts, uncles… It’s a sad thing when it’s over. After I wrapped up Dutta Vs Dutta I felt sad and I was thinking of doing another family drama. Though Ganesh Talkies is much more mainstream with songs and dance and action…. With Ganesh Talkies I want to reach out to a larger audience. The music (by Neel Dutt) is very commercial. But that doesn’t mean I will keep on doing this. I will start Bomkesh (Bakshi) next.