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Srijit’s Jaatishwar

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By T2 CATCHES SRIJIT MUKHERJI IN ACTION ON THE FIRST DAY OF JAATISHWAR Kushali Nag What do you think of Prosenjit as Antony Firingee? Tell
  • Published 6.07.13
Srijit instructs his actors.

You are looking quite relaxed on the first day of the shoot...

Yes, that’s because even though the canvas is large, my producers (Reliance Entertainment and Rana Sarkar) have left no scope for complaint. And that’s why I’m still sitting in a chair and conducting the shoot! But things aren’t going too well.... I am trying to grapple with the first-day blues as usual.

Is Jaatishwar a remake of the 1967 Uttam Kumar-Tanuja film Antony Firingee with a twist?

I don’t believe in remakes. See, Jaatishwar is also a biopic and there will be some resemblance. Any film made on Gandhi will be a lot like other films made on Gandhi because you can’t change his life as per the requirement of the script. But my advantage is that Antony Firingee was based on a novel by Madan Bandopadhyay. Jaatishwar is based more on historical research. It’s about the journey of Antony (played by Prosenjit) as he learns a new language and becomes one of the leading kabiyals. The personal life does come in but not to a great extent. In fact, Kabir Suman’s song Jatiswar inspired me to make this film.

And what kind of research did you do for Jaatishwar?

Humongous! I went to various libraries, referred to at least seven-eight books, consulted scholars like Debjit Bandopadhyay, spoke to students who are doing PhD on kabiyal or kabigaan.... (Kabir) Sumanda too researched a lot. Overall, it was more like an archeological adventure... digging up things from the past and trying to put a picture together.

Tell us more about the story of Jaatishwar...

It’s a love story set in 2013. But there’s also a reference to a previous birth. We do a time travel. So for those portions we’ve recreated that particular period. The rest of the film is set in 2013. I always had a thing for making a biopic on either Antony or Bhola Moira or even Jogeshwari for that matter because these characters are fascinating.

“Being a part of Jaatishwar and portraying Antony Firingee makes me very nostalgic, not only because of Uttamjethu (Kumar) but also because Biswajit Chatterjee (father) too had played Antony Firingee in Bhola Moira (1977). I have a double role in Jaatishwar. In the other role, I have a very interesting look. I’m working out and keeping my diet in check. I will lose at least 6kg for the other look”— PROSENJIT

Does Prosenjit feature in both the stories in Jaatishwar?

For that let’s wait for the film to unfold!

Do you deliberately pick stories where you can show Prosenjit differently?

You know the story always comes first. It’s a matter of coincidence that the characters which are created need a certain kind of charisma and are of a certain age group and probably that’s why you see Bumbada (Prosenjit) in so many of my films.

Of all the looks you’ve created for Prosenjit, which is your favourite?

That is very difficult. I can’t imagine Probir (in 22shey Srabon) in any other way. I can’t imagine Kakababu differently than what I have created in Mishawr Rawhoshyo. With Arun Chatterjee (in Autograph), it was closer to what Bumbada is in real life. If you are talking about radical, then his look in Jaatishwar is the most radical.

Who are the other key players?

There’s Jisshu Sengupta and Swastika Mukherjee. Ananya Chatterjee has a cameo. There are a number of guest appearances.... Rahul, Riya Sen, Kharaj Mukherjee, Neel Mukhopadhyay, Abir Chatterjee.... Kabir Suman is doing the music. Calcutta apart, we will shoot in Chandernagore, Naihati and Paris.