First look of Dutta vs Dutta

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By Memories haunt Anjan Dutt as he shoots his autobiographical film Dutta Vs Dutta (AS TOLD TO MOHUA DAS)
  • Published 17.03.12
Anjan, who plays protagonist Rono’s father Biren, shoots with Subhashish Mukherjee (“a mad uncle of Rono”) and Rita Koyral (Biren’s wife Maya).
(Below) Anjan instructs Arpita
on her first day of the shoot at Amherst Street Lahabari on Friday morning. “I’m enjoying my retro look. Tomorrow I have a song sequence on the terrace. I hope I survive the heat!” said Arpita.
Pictures by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya

A week into the shoot of Dutta Vs Dutta, t2 dropped in at the sets in Amherst Street Lahabari to catch the mood and moments of Anjan Dutt’s latest film, the project closest to his heart. We listened as Dutt bared his heart during a break...

Anjan speak

We started shooting here in this Amherst Street house on March 10. Most of the film is being shot here. This house resonates the feel of my old house (in Beniapukur). Baba used to have a separate chamber and the house was divided into separate zones for my uncles.... After the 26th, we move outdoors — Park Street, New Alipore, La Martiniere, north Calcutta lanes and finally St. Paul’s, my school in Darjeeling.

The Dutta Vs Dutta story is very close to my heart. It’s my growing-up time, coming-of-age period. Most of the characters are people I’ve grown up with; the only fictional character is (protagonist) Rono’s wife.

You know, it’s getting increasingly difficult being in my dad’s shoes. Sometimes I question myself if I should have done it. There is a huge emotional connect of love and hate. Things that I would not understand back then seem clearer and I seem to understand him better now. In my other films, I’ve been through different physical strains — learning how to weave or trying to get thinner. With this film, it’s psychological.

Ideally, I should have given my role to somebody else, but it was my producer (Orion Pvt Ltd) who wanted me to act and I thought it best for me to play my father because I would know him best. Now I’m trying to relive somebody with whom I had a strange relationship. It might have been easier to play Netaji because you’ve read him, not experienced him!

On the one hand I play Baba, who was a patriarch.... The boy (Rono) hated him before slowly father and son came closer. And on the other hand, I’m directing Rono (actor Ronodeep Basu), who is playing me. I’m making him do things that are 70 per cent me and the rest is what he makes of the character.

I would love to play my Dadu. He was a good, magical man and Dipankar De has played him brilliantly.

At the end of the shoot I feel sad everyday. I go home, have a drink and crash, or else all my memories flood back. I hope I overcome it. My wife (Chanda) tells me I shouldn’t have got into it at all but Aparna Sen had told me, if I don’t tell my stories now, it becomes false. I’m 58 now. I’ll work for another 10 years at least but age will catch up. I should tell my stories now.