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- Published 30.05.14
|Gargi Roy Chowdhury and Rachana Banerjee in Ramdhanu|
Director duo Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukhopadhyay tell t2 about making “true-to-life” films and why audiences can identify with the characters in their films...
There are so many directors making different kinds of films. What’s the space you occupy in Tollywood?
Nandita: We pick realistic subjects. But we also love fantasies and thrillers. We make films on the common man. I don’t know if by doing that we could create a special corner for us. One thing is for sure that we do a lot of research on the subjects we choose. Which is something I don’t know if other directors do. Our approach to filmmaking is different. We select a subject, we meet people related to that subject, we discuss the idea, they come up with their suggestions. We notice the way they talk and their body language and incorporate all that into the script. So that for us is a very exciting process. That’s why our films are so true to life and a lot of people identify with the characters.
Shiboprosad: We cater to the family audience. That’s a space we’ve created for ourselves. Ramdhanu revolves around a middle-class couple who struggle to admit their only child to one of the best schools. Rachana Banerjee plays a grooming teacher who helps this couple.
The women in all your films are very strong while the men are always weak. Is it deliberate?
Shiboprosad: Probably because Didi is a woman director!
Nandita: No, it happens naturally. I really don’t know.... It hasn’t been deliberate. I think I have a very domineering personality! Tell me, Shibu, have I been dominating you? (Laughs)
Ramdhanu is your first film with which Rituparna Sengupta isn’t associated....
Nandita: Oh, but her best wishes are with us. Don’t worry! She is our lucky charm.
Both of you look very relaxed ahead of the release of Ramdhanu (June 6)...
Nandita: After a long time I went ‘wow’ watching my own film! I was never this confident about my earlier films. Surprisingly, I am not tense about Ramdhanu. I know I have made a good film.
Shiboprosad: See, since I look into the marketing and promotion of our films, I am always a little tense. My job doesn’t end with just making a film. I have to make sure that as many people as possible watch the film. So I can’t relax. But if Didi (Nandita) is confident, I’m confident too. Because Didi is the director of Ramdhanu. I have acted in Ramdhanu (plays Gargi Roy Chowdhury’s husband), so I could hardly pay attention to direction.
Shiboprosad, apparently you understand the business of filmmaking very well...
Shiboprosad: This is the first time in India that two renowned schools have tied up with a film. So everything was free for me, from shooting on the school premises to casting the students. We have got 15 partners and that’s a big thing for a film. We know our films have an audience. When we go out to shoot, people come running to us and ask when we are going to make Ichche part 2...
You are gearing up for a sequel to Muktodhara. Is Ichche 2 on the cards too?
Nandita: (Laughs) Yes, talks are on for Ichche 2.
What have your last five films taught you?
Shiboprosad: Ichche has taught us patience. Wait for the right time. There’s a huge difference in these eight years of our filmmaking career. Now channels want to sign up with us to make a serial for them. They want our stories. We have so many screenplays ready. But we are happy making one film a year.
Nandita: All our films have taught us to stick to what we believe in, come what may.
Which directors in Tollywood can give you serious competition?
Shiboprosad: We ourselves! Now there’s a neo-realistic movement in Tollywood and every director is making a mark with their films. When someone’s film doesn’t work, I feel very scared because that reduces the audience size. One bad film can kill this industry slowly but surely.
Nandita: All of us are trying for one thing only — get the audience back to the theatres. We are not competing against each other. We are all fighting for the same thing. We will just waste time if we backbite and try to bring down a fellow filmmaker. We love Kamaleswar’s (Mukherjee) films, Srijit’s (Mukherji), Kaushik Ganguly’s films, Rana-Sudeshna’s and Mainak’s (Bhaumik) films.... We are all trying to make good films. We are comrades in arms.
Shiboprosad: In fact I like Baba Yadav’s films (Boss). They look great and he is making commercial cinema smarter.
It’s rare when a producer puts in money for three films by the same makers back to back...
Shiboprosad: I take it as my responsibility to make sure that our producer Atanu Roy Chowdhury makes profit. Otherwise, why would he want to invest the second and the third time? We make films on a very limited budget and we wrap up within 15-17 days.
Nandita: I think he loves our films! Because we are so thorough with our homework that we don’t take much time to shoot. We know exactly what the set would be like and what our actors have to do.
Shiboprosad: I think we are setting an example in Tollywood!