Kamaleshwar Mukherjee’s Trip To South Africa For Chander Pahar, Starring Dev

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 9.01.13

In between the post-production of his film Meghe Dhaka Tara, director Kamaleshwar Mukherjee went on a 10-day recce to South Africa for his next film Chander Pahar— based on Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay’s novel — starring Dev as Shankar.

Shooting for Chander Pahar will begin in the first week of March. “We will have a month-long rehearsal in February with Dev,” said Kamaleshwar.

The team will camp in various parts of South Africa for a month. “We’ve finalised places near Johannesburg. Before we start shooting, we will go for another recce to the Kalahari desert. Dev will accompany me on that trip,” he added.

From the Mpumalanga jungles to Eland’s Valley and Blyde river canyon, the Chander Pahar team will follow the book to the T. “Some of the places have changed a lot since the time Bibhutibhushanbabu wrote the novel. So we will create sets in a few areas in South Africa. We will also shoot in Kenya and Uganda.”

Kamaleshwar’s last release Uro Chithi, starring Sreelekha Mitra and Indraneil Sengupta, did average business at the box office. His second film Meghe Dhaka Tara, a biopic on Ritwik Ghatak, is set to release in April. Isn’t it a huge challenge to adapt Chander Pahar on celluloid for a director who’s just two films old? “Yes, specially because there are too many adventures. Shankar, the protagonist, encounters various adventures. His tryst with the deadly Black Mamba to his fight with lions and leopards and spending days in a cave and then walking through the Kalahari desert. Bibhutibhushanbabu has written the novel so well that while reading it one can visualise the places easily but execution will definitely be a huge challenge. Plus, since we will shoot in various places of South Africa, travelling is another challenge,” he said.

And how sure is he of Dev, who has so far played the hero in masala films, pulling off Shankar? “Well, Dev was in my mind and also in my producer’s (Shree Venkatesh Films) mind from the beginning. We needed an athletic body for the role of Shankar because in the book it’s mentioned that Shankar is into boxing and knows horse riding and swimming. Dev is learning horse riding and he is good in action scenes. But we’ve asked him to lose weight because in the latter part of the film he fights with lions, and walking through jungles and mountains Shankar almost starves,” added Kamaleshwar.

Kushali Nag