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regular-article-logo Sunday, 14 July 2024

Producer Saptaswa Basu speaks about his upcoming musical love series Shrutimadhur

‘It’s a fresh love story, which depicts the purity of long-term relationships'

Arindam Chatterjee Published 03.06.24, 07:07 AM
The poster

The poster

Shrutimadhur is a musical love story. The title means a tune which is pleasing to the ear but also is an imagery of the harmony of love that gives people a sense of purpose. “There is an element of music in the story, which relates to the title character Shruti. She has been into music since childhood, but after being subjected to domestic life, a curtain has been drawn over her euphonious interests. The ups and downs of her marital life finally draw her back to her mellifluous times where she actively pursued music, and what happens after that in the present time forms the core of the story,” says producer-director Saptaswa Basu. A t2 chat.

Why did you decide to produce Shrutimadhur?

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I have been producing content, both for theatrical release and Internet distribution. Shrutimadhur was initially a script that Arnab Bhaumik (writer) developed with me. It’s a fresh love story depicting the purity of long-term relationships or marriages in our times. I feel, as a producer, bringing new content with fresh directors is a need of the hour. R. Chattopadhyay, the director, has been working with me as a colleague and he is quite a smart storyteller. So I decided to support this new team and it went on the shooting floor organically. Being a director myself, I wish to see new talents and filmmakers grow. I believe in creating a group of storytellers who will combine their vision with socially relevant stories which will make our Bengali content reach global standards and be celebrated across borders.

Saptaswa Basu

Saptaswa Basu

What is the genesis of Shrutimadhur?

The genesis happens to be very interesting. After Arnab and I developed the script, we were in a dhaba after a shoot and my filmmaking team was there. We were shooting another web content at that time and were in the process of selecting the next story, when Apala, who has been working in my directorial team, mentioned that the script by Arnab can be done as a romantic musical. Everyone else loved the script and R Chattopadhyay narrated to me his vision and shot divisions. There is an emotional core to the story which many couples and people, who have been in love, will relate to. It gives a throwback to the romance of old school but keeping the generation of Instagram in the scene. Many a times we sacrifice our little pleasures for the greater needs of the family. The stories of many such unsung heroes remain in the background. We were convinced to bring this story to the screen and thereby planned the shoot.

Tell us about the storyline.

The story deals with a family of three, the husband Arnab, wife Shruti and their two-year-old daughter, Diya. Being a family man, Arnab works hard everyday and Shruti is a homemaker, and everything seems fine from the surface, but there is something suspicious going on in their relationship. They seem distant, the husband apparently is meeting a divorce lawyer, and Shruti is more attracted to the world of social media. What happens to these characters and how they survive their emotional crossroads forms the rest of the story. Since it is a mini content which has a linear narrative, I am sure the audience will love the treatment of the content and how we have presented it.

Why did you feel the need to tell this story now?

People love and demand choices, but those choices have to engulf them in situations that they often fail to comprehend. With the familiarity of social media and literally bringing the world at our fingertips, most people, rather relationships, boil down to the conflict between patience, real bonding, struggles, sacrifices and instant pleasure, fun, short feel-good moments. That’s the common set of circumstances among a wide set of population across all generations which makes the subject quite relatable. The intent to talk about such a topic is also to reiterate that relationships are not always fun and happening, it’s also the mundane days, the agony. At the end of the day, it is about holding on, it’s about choices to stick with and support each other. That’s the bond, the love we talk about. All others are mere distractions. The sooner people understand this, the fewer relationships will fail.

Tell us about the characters.

Unmesh plays Arnab, a working professional, and a serious family man. Apala plays Shruti, the wife and a homemaker who has an interest in music. Apratim Chatterjee plays a mysterious character which is revealed at the end of the story, who apparently gives Arnab suggestions about his marital life. An interesting supporting character, named Anirban, has been played by Suman Majumder, who ignites the interest of musical pursuit in Shruti. These characters and their interpersonal conflicts form the trajectory of our story.

Why cast Unmesh and Apala?

Unmesh has been working as a popular influencer and has been in contact since the release of my debut film Network. He is an intelligent performer and has the capabilities of a film actor. We wanted to break his image from the regular dose of comedy that he presents and bring him in front of the audience in the character of a serious family man. This is something he hasn’t explored before and therefore makes a scope of uniqueness for our mini series.

In my directorial team, Apala has been working for some time. She has interests both behind the camera and front and can create and adapt to various characters. I always have pushed new talents to showcase their work as I believe opportunities should be given to everybody who sincerely has chosen the profession of filmmaking or performing arts. I have seen potential in her methods and we wanted the character of Shruti to be depicted by a fresh face, devoid of any previous notions from the audience perspective. Therefore these two were cast after a look set and a script reading where the director and team readily agreed to take this casting choice forward.

What are their strengths as actors?

Unmesh is a natural in front of the camera. He read the character and added his nuances and shades to it. Breaking the image of an influencer is quite a task and he achieved it successfully. On the other hand, this is the acting debut of Apala and before filming, she had undergone an acting workshop course by Apratim Chatterjee who is a senior actor and also a cast member. She tried to analyse each scene and how the character graph progresses throughout the story. She has been curious, and perceptive and took it as a learning process to perform better. In the dubbing as well, she learnt the logistics of the process and fared well. Apratim Chatterjee and others have portrayed their characters beautifully as well.

Tell us more about the director...

R Chattopadhyay is a smart and new director, who has been working in my directorial team for some time. He has a keen sense of storytelling and is quite skilled in the sense of technique and production process. I have always wanted members of my team to grow, to become storytellers themselves and that’s what I believe my production company believes in. The director has proved himself to be capable of taking the responsibility of mounting a project on his own and therefore we have backed him in his journey of Shrutimadhur.

How was the shooting experience?

Oh yes, that was indeed a wonderful experience overall. We had shot for two days at Kalyani and this outdoor shoot has contributed to bringing the team together. Shooting in summers with such difficult weather conditions is always a challenge, but the team here certainly deserves the credit. Everyone working on the floor was so persuaded with the common purpose that their composite effort was not restricted to their mere individual job roles.

On the very first day, we had shot 26 scenes. Though it sounded like a challenge on paper and there was quite a considerable debate about it, it was finally achieved and that satisfaction is unmatched for any filmmaking team. With such craziness, excitement, and joy, we proudly managed to create something beautiful.

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