'I want to make good films'

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By Jisshu Sengupta becomes film producer with Anindya Banerjee's directorial debut
  • Published 12.03.10

Anindya Banerjee, who found fame with mega serials Ekdin Pratidin and Ekhane Akash Neel, tells t2 about his five-year wait to direct a feature film, on the sets of Gole Maale Gole Maale Pirit Koro Na

I have been trying to make a film for the last five years. Once I was almost ready to hit the floors but it finally didn’t materialise. I had even gone to Switzerland to meet a producer who backed out later. Then I discussed the project with Reliance but recession struck and they backed out too. Then there were talks with Bumbada (Prosenjit), but we couldn’t start the film since he had date problems. Finally, now, things have fallen into place and we have started shooting in this house near Narendrapur.

Gole Maale... is a comedy of errors, of mistaken identity... it’s a roller-coaster ride. Jisshu plays the son of a zamindar who is tired of living in the suburbs. He comes to Calcutta often for disco-hopping and there he poses as Prem. He meets Ritwick’s character, the other hero in the film, in the city. Ritwick’s sister, played by Payel, is obsessed with Salman Khan and his screen name Prem. So, Jisshu falls for Ritwick’s sister and Ritwick falls for Jisshu’s sister (played by newcomer Ankita), and there’s a lot of fun.

Actor to producer — what made you take the plunge?

Payel, Sudipa Basu and Ritwick have a quick chat on the sets; (below) director Anindya. Pictures by Anindya Shankar Ray

See, I want to do good cinema... films that are entertaining and have a mass appeal. The kind of films being made in Bombay now, like Karthik Calling Karthik, Dev D, A Wednesday.... Our production house is called Shree Tirupati Movies and we are a group of three friends — Rony, Subrata and I. Rony and Subrata have worked as executive producers in many films. We plan to make small-budget entertaining films. Gole Maale Gole Maale Pirit Koro Na is our first venture; it’s being financed by One Plus One. Later, of course, we will produce and finance our own movies.... I’m also playing one of the lead heroes in Gole Maale!

Won’t the dual role of acting and taking care of production bog you down?

No, I am only looking after the creative part. Besides, when I am in front of the camera I forget about everything else. I will always act even though I might get into direction next year. Acting is my first love.

Why did you choose a debutant director (Anindya Banerjee) to make your first film?

Oh, Anindya is a brilliant director! I have never worked with him but I have seen his work. I trust him. Anindya has been trying to make a film for the last five years and I had assured him that we would be rolling by March 10.

What is Gole Maale... all about?

It’s an urban comedy... realistic, a very Hrishikesh Mukherjee kind of film with situational comedy. While working with Rituda (Rituparno Ghosh), I realised that we can make good, realistic films here. Gole Maale... is the kind of film we want to make. Come what may, we decided to start the film on March 10. But our financier backed out in between and we were hopping mad! I thought of selling my plot of land and Rony thought of selling his travel business, and then we met One Plus One and things fell into place.... And I am so excited now! I’m making sure the car is on time and there are chairs on the shooting spot. I even went to buy the cutlery for the shoot myself!

Are you now looking at acting in only ‘your’ kind of films?

No. See, I have done my kind of films and I have been part of trash too. Directors came to me with brilliant subjects but the execution was so poor! Now I want to act in films that I believe in. I was satisfied working in Aamra and Abar Aranye.... I have seen stardom and I have also seen the other side. I was a star when I was doing the mega serial Mahaprabhu. Girls would go gaga over me. I still remember the day I had gone to do a show and people tore my shirt. It was a birthday gift and I came back home and cried. That was the kind of craze I’ve seen and then one day it was all gone! Now people scarcely know me in the suburbs. But that’s fine by me because I can walk into a mall and not get mobbed.

Any plans to cast Rituparno Ghosh in your films?

Yes, why not? And why only him, we would also like to cast Amitabh Bachchan some day. For now, our only aim is to get back what we are spending. Later on, we will explore the option of selling our films. And I might not act in all the films I produce, though I am acting in the next film as well which is a love story. I’m the solo hero there!

Kushali Nag

behind the camera:

Arindam and Debleena in a fun mood on the sets. Picture by Aranya Sen

Arindam Sil launched his directorial career on Monday with Choukath, a TV series starring Debleena Dutt and Tathagata Mukherjee. “Debleena is one of the best actresses around and it’s a delight directing her,” said Arindam. Choukath, revolving around student politics, will go on air from March 22 in Rupashi Bangla’s Bondhu Tomay segment.

Three for joy: The music launch of Sono Mon Boli Tomay, which releases today, found Dev cheering for lead pair Rahul and Priyanka at Roxy last week. Sono Mon... is the debut venture of production house Studio 20.