The Bong Connection at the National Awards

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 8.03.12

Anjan Dutt, director of Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbona (Best Bengali Film & Special Jury Award)

There was a time when I really wanted a National Award. I did films like Kharij, Yugant, Shilpi, Antareen, which were recognised as good films. And I was extremely hopeful because I was trying to do a different kind of acting. But I lost out to others, Mammootty and Om Puri, who were equally good. But I still feel I should have got one back then.... Then I was hopeful for Bow Barracks Forever because it was a very important film for me and I think for Indian cinema too. And then The Bong Connection.... That was the time when I gave up as an actor and started hoping as a director. And then I lost interest in the awards. So that feeling of victory is not there right now.

I am definitely very happy that Ranjana has been recognised because it is an important film for me. But I am mildly amused. I am more happy for Neel (son) — also slightly jealous (laughs) — that he has got the award when he is young, unlike me.

Neel Dutt (Best music direction, songs, for Ranjana Ami Aar Ashbona)

It’s my first award ever. Bong Connection, Madly Bangalee and Ranjana have been very special because I had the liberty to do the music the way I wanted to. Ranjana perhaps was a bit difficult in terms of the period we were trying to trace, and also trying to create the two different sounds with different levels of maturity — for an old man (Anjan Dutt) and a young girl (Parno Mittra). It feels good to be recognised.

Roopa Ganguly (Best female playback singer for Abosheshey)

I’m surprised! I was coaxed by my director (Aditi Roy) and scriptwriter (Neill Mitra) to sing two Tagore songs. Prabuddha (Banerjee, composer) gave me the courage to go ahead and I guess being an actress (a scene from Abosheshey below) helps because in a song too expression is very important. I’m remembering my music teacher Kabitadi, who always had faith in me. I did music seriously in school and college. And I did a Tagore album in 2004 but by and large, I’ve ignored it. Maybe it’s time I started practising!

Indranil Ghosh (best production design for Noukadubi)

This is my second National Award after Chokher Bali. I am lucky that I have a wonderful team and we all work hand in hand. I want to mention my assistant Raju who has worked very hard along with the others. The production design for any period film is challenging but since I had worked in films like Antarmahal, Chokher Bali and Abohoman, doing Noukadubi was easier.

Onir, director of I Am (Best Hindi film)

I am in a state of shock… I am just so overwhelmed. I Am was ignored at all the popular film awards this year, but winning a National Award more than makes up for the disappointments. I am in such a happy space now because the film was one of a kind. To be awarded in our country for a film that explores sexuality is extremely commendable. It gives me so much strength to do even more path-breaking work. Though all the four films in I Am were extremely close to my heart, I have a soft corner for the Calcutta story (I Am Afia starring Nandita Das and Purab Kohli) because I always wanted to shoot in my city.
PS: Amitabh Bhattacharya won Best lyrics for Agar zindagi in I Am

It feels great. It’s a national recognition and we really worked hard as a team. There are two music pieces composed by my team and me. And since I live in New York I could use a few musicians from the New York Philharmonic orchestra.

— Mayookh Bhaumik
(Best music direction, background score, for Laptop)