Tell us about Ebar Shabor...
After Aborto (Arindam’s debut film as director), there was a huge challenge for me to do a totally different film. Aborto was slow in pace and was primarily about relationships. In Ebar Shabor the pace will be ten times more than what it was in Aborto. I stumbled upon Rwin, a novella by Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, and though it is very verbose, it is very cinematic. Ebar Shabor is about a Lalbazar police detective. So a very flesh-and-blood character. It is not just a murder mystery. It becomes a relationship thriller and ends as a love story. It is not really a whodunnit. Paddanava Dasgupta and I have written the script. It took about a year to prepare the final draft. We read out the script to Shirshenduda and he really liked it.
Like other detective films, will there be a series of films on Shabor Dasgupta?
Yes, there will be. After watching the first film Shirshenduda will write more, provided he likes the film!
There are about five-six novellas on Shabor Dasgupta. Rituda (Rituparno Ghosh) too wanted to make a film on this subject.... And before you ask me how is it going to be different from the rest of the detective films, well, it’s an adult thriller. Shabor is very modern and the story is for adults. The crime that happens is a crime of passion.
Who are the key players?
Saswata Chatterjee will play Shabor Dasgupta, Subhrajit Datta plays his assistant Nandu. Just to do this film Saswata has said no to a lot of Hindi films! I am indebted to all of them because they’ve compromised on their remuneration. Swastika Mukherjee plays Mitali, the protagonist who is murdered in Ebar Shabor. Payel Sarkar plays Swastika’s cousin sister Joyeeta. Gargi Roy Chowdhury plays Zulekha, a very critical character. There’s also Debleena Dutt and Abir Chatterjee, who is caught in between Swastika and Payel. Ritwik Chakraborty, Rahul and Kaushik Ganguly play very important roles. Shirsha Ray is the DoP, Bickram Ghosh is doing the music. Ebar Shabor will be presented by Reliance Entertainment and produced by Mundus Services.
Saswata has always played the detective’s sidekick, as Topshe in the Feluda TV series and Ajit in Bomkesh Bakshi...
That’s my challenge. I think Saswata should have been cast as Bomkesh a long time back. If I had done Bomkesh I would have taken Saswata.
When do you start shooting?
April 7, in very challenging locations of Calcutta. From the busy roads to Lalbazar. There are a few days of shooting in Pondicherry with Swastika and Dipankar De, who plays her father.
Why will locations be a challenge? You’ve already worked as the line producer for Bollywood biggies like Kahaani and Gunday....
I have done that as a production team for others. Let me see how cool I can be on the sets! (Laughs)