Sex, lies & dhokha

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By t2 puts Bappaditya Bandopadhyay under the spotlight for Kagojer Bou KUSHALI NAG Whose acting did you like the best in Kagojer Bou? Tell t2@abpmail.com
  • Published 7.02.11
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Paoli Dam and Joy Sengupta at the Kagojer Bou premiere at INOX Forum. Pictures by Aranya Sen
Priyanka and Rahul
Rimjhim Gupta

Bappaditya Bandopadhyay’s Kagojer Bou, starring Joy Sengupta, Rahul, Paoli Dam, Rimjhim Gupta and Priyanka, is an adaptation of a Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay novel probing a slice of urban life. At the centre is corporate high-flier Subimal (Joy) who hires slum boy Upal (Rahul) to cajole Priti (Paoli), a model, into a relationship with him. Upal, who dreams of making money, takes up the job after which Subimal assigns him the task of luring his wife Shreya (Rimjhim) into bed so that Subimal can get an easy divorce from her. Upal succeeds but Priti gets a whiff of Subimal’s plans and decides to teach him a lesson. She marries Upal, promising him a life in the US, but dumps him right after the wedding. A t2 chat with Bappaditya...

You’ve said that Kagojer Bou is a mainstream film. What is your idea of a mainstream film?

Kagojer Bou is mainstream in the sense that it’s not a nonsense film. It definitely has my touch, as you’ve seen in Kantataar and Houseful. But unlike those films, Kagojer Bou has a simple, rounded narrative. Contrast that with Houseful (starring Prosenjit), where the audience found it hard to distinguish between the film-within-a-film and reality.... Kagojer Bou also has quite a few songs, which add to its mainstream appeal. The characters are people we can identify with. After watching the film, many people told me that they could see bits of themselves in Upal (Rahul).

There’s a recurring image of slum kids playing Holi. What did you try to convey?

It appears twice. See, as a filmmaker I can’t completely get rid of my footprints, can I? So even if I say Kagojer Bou is mainstream, it will have my touch. Bhaskar Chakraborty, my favourite poet, has called slum kids alor chhele (children of light) and I wanted to use this image in my film. They appear first when Upal’s father (Tamal Mukherjee) dies. As his body is being carried away, we see the kids playing Holi. I wanted to show the contrast between life and death, between colour and monochrome. They appear again at the end, when Upal feels cheated by Priti (Paoli). This time, I show them in animation as I’m fascinated by the art form and wanted to use it in one of my films.

There’s a scene where Upal is travelling in a tram and he sees Rs 10 notes raining down on him. Was it inspired from the money scene in Satyajit Ray’s Nayak?

Oh no, not at all! In Nayak, Uttam Kumar sinks into a quicksand of money in his dream. But here, the scene is based on a line from the novel. Upal thinks of money whenever he remembers his dead father, who was poor and would frantically look for money in his room.

Why did you choose this particular story?

The novel is very popular. Actually, Bumbada (Prosenjit) had wanted to direct this film in Hindi as he liked the story very much. We started working on the script and I had completed writing a part of it. But then, a few years passed. I am sure Bumbada will make this film in Hindi someday... the subject is very relevant and the characters are real.

Paoli wears skimpy clothes and shows cleavage in most of her scenes. Was it necessary?

I wanted to give Paoli a different image. Upal has four women in his life and I wanted each of them to look different. Paoli’s Priti is economically independent and uninhibited and has no problems wearing revealing outfits. Rimjhim plays a mature housewife, so she is mainly in saris. Priyanka is poor and so is without make-up. Nandini Ghoshal, in her brief appearance, is dressed as a village woman.

Joy-Paoli’s bed scene is not explicit...

Kagojer Bou is for a family audience and I didn’t want too much boldness. Besides, the script, unlike my earlier films like Shilpantar or Kantataar, didn’t demand an explicit intimate scene.

The end is a bit predictable…

Only parts of it, like Subimal’s wife Shreya and Priti meeting to discover the truth. But Priti’s decision to marry Upal is far from predictable. It should stun the audience. Otai toh chamak!