Rituparno Ghosh on reactions to and life after the last lear...

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By 'Reshmi Sengupta
  • Published 19.09.08

What kind of feedback have you got about The Last Lear?

I am getting different reactions from different quarters. Some people have liked it very much, some people haven’t liked it so much. But the same thing had happened with Black.... I am yet to figure out whether people are seeing Last Lear as a Rituparno film or an Amitabh Bachchan film. For instance, people who are familiar with my style of filmmaking are liking the portion of three women (Preity Zinta, Shefali Shah and Divya Dutta) bonding. People who are not, feel it’s not going with the rest of the film. I think once things settle down, people will be able to see the film from the proper perspective.

What’s keeping you busy after Last Lear?

I am on to my next project, Tagore’s Noukadubi. There’s Jisshu (Sengupta), Raima (Sen) and Riya (Sen). Dhritiman Chaterji plays Raima’s father. We will shoot a kaashphool sequence before the Pujas.

Priyanshu Chatterjee was there too...

He was but he may not be able to do the film anymore because of other commitments.

Who will you replace him with?

We are in talks with a few Calcutta-based actors with whom I have already worked before. We haven’t finalised anyone yet, but no, it’s not Prosenjit!

There’s a buzz that you will be making a film on Satyajit Ray’s relationship with Madhabi Mukherjee...

There’s absolutely no truth in that. I wanted to make a film on a filmmaker and his relationship with an actress long time back. There was talk of Amitabh Bachchan playing the filmmaker, Shabana Azmi playing his wife and Madhuri (Dixit) playing the actress. We had thought of Farhan (Akhtar) as the filmmaker’s son. We had only discussed the idea and it was ages ago... maybe the time I was doing Raincoat. And that was it.

Besides, I have already made a film on these lines... Abohoman. And I have no plans of making another one in the near future. But I don’t understand why we have to associate real people with a film’s characters.

Satyajit Ray is someone I have always looked up to. He has been my role model. Why would I suddenly make him a subject of gossip? See, the relationship between a filmmaker and his subject is my abiding concern as a filmmaker. I have made so many films on this issue — Bariwali, Khela, Last Lear. In Shubho Mahurat and Titli, there were elements of the realities of the film world. This a recurrent theme in my films. But it is strange that the moment there’s scope of a potential romance in the storyline, people start dragging in real names. I have spoken to both Madhabidi and Bunidi (Lolita, Sandip Ray’s wife) about this. And I am touched by the faith Madhabidi and Sandip Ray have shown in me. They have ignored this rumour.

Does Abohoman have any shades of the Ray-Madhabi relationship?

Not at all. The subject is the proverbial Pygmalion concept of a mentor’s relationship with his muse. The kind of relationship Nati Binodini had with Girish Ghosh. That’s why we have the Nati Binodini-Girish Ghosh story as a film within the film. Abohoman is about a director played by Dipankar De, who has a relationship with a much younger actress, played by Ananya (Chatterjee). Mamata Shankar is his wife. He had met her while casting for his film on Nati Binodini. But that never happened; instead the two got married. Decades later, Dipankar De revives the project with a new actress. Abohoman is rather about the two women bonding. Besides, both Dipankar De and Mamata Shankar are two of Ray’s favourite actors. Do you think they would have associated themselves with this film had it been disrespectful of Satyajit Ray?

Is Abohoman ready for release?

We are almost through with the dubbing. But we will release Sunglass before that. We are in the process of dubbing. Jayadi’s (Bachchan) portion is left.