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By Kushali Nag Which of these three films seems the most exciting to you? Tell t2@abp.in
  • Published 17.01.12

A one-year break after Mahanagar@ Kolkata and Suman Mukhopadhyay is now ready to start on three films — Kangal Malsat, Shesher Kobita and Prince of Metiabruz (in Hindi) — from this month. A t2 chat.

You’ve already adapted Nabarun Bhattacharya’s novel Kangal Malsat for the stage. Why make a film on it then?

Because I wanted to do a film on this particular subject. I think the story is very relevant now, all the more because of the political changes that have taken place in Bengal. Kangal Malsat is about two groups — the Choktars and the Fyatarus, the flying people. These people are marginal and down-trodden. They are waging a war against the government. Kangal means beggars and malsat means the war cry. So it’s the war cry of the beggars. Through the film, I want to explore why the Left failed after ruling for 34 years. The novel documents that in a very grotesque manner, though told in a funny, burlesque way. I want to tell the story in a little unreal and surreal way. The budget is Rs 30-35 lakh, to be produced by Sudipto Roy Chowdhury. It will be shot guerrilla-style.

Is it a dark, political film?

Political, but not dark or grim. The element of darkness is laced with comedy. Humour is the vehicle of this film. It’s for the urban audience but not the family audience, mind you, because it’s not going to be a very comfortable zone. Kangal Malsat is a cult novel... very popular among the young generation because it’s got the Delhi Belly kind of language. There will be a lot of cusswords. It talks about governance and politics in a very blatant manner.

What is the guerrilla style you want to follow?

Kangal Malsat will challenge the formula from the point of view of narrative and casting. See, the industry wants everybody to replicate a success code till it proves to be a failure. But there should be alternative voices who want to operate outside the success code. This film should be able to open up certain avenues and create an alternative platform for filmmakers like us. Something that Hollywood filmmaker (Steven) Soderberg is doing. He makes a big Hollywood film and then goes back to making a small film.

Who all have you cast in Kangal Malsat?

Kabir Suman is Dandabayush (the crow). The main character is Marshal Bhodi, played by Kaushik Ganguly. Dibyendu of Dev D will play Madan, one of the Fyatarus. Kamalika plays Kabir Suman’s wife; Ushasie is Kali, a prostitute.

Your next is Shesher Kobita, an adaptation of Tagore’s novel...

Yes. The ministry of culture has formed a committee which is encouraging directors to make films on Tagore, the same committee that has commissioned Rituparno’s (Ghosh) documentary on Tagore and Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s Shey.... NFDC is working out the logistics. Rahul Bose will play Amit Roy and Konkona (Sensharma) is playing Labanya. I am not setting it in the contemporary period. I am sticking to the novel. I chose Shesher Kobita because people are still curious about Labanya and Amit.

What about Prince of Metiabruz, which you’re planning to make in Hindi?

My friend Anustup Basu (film scholar) and I have adapted Shakespeare’s Hamlet and we are interpreting it our way. Here, Hamlet is Mansoor, the son of a mafia don in Metiabruz. Mansoor gets involved in radical politics in college. He comes back to Metiabruz after his father’s death. Why I chose Metiabruz as the title is because it has a history of its own. It’s a place least visited by the people of Calcutta. There are a lot of myths surrounding that area, like the black market, the dying docks... Mansoor comes back with a utopian dream.

Arunoday Singh (of Yeh Saali Zindagi) will play Mansoor and Mahie Gill is Nasrin (Ophelia). Om Puri is Claudius (Hamlet’s uncle) and Anupam Kher is Nasrin’s father (Polonius).