Truly madly

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By Anjan Dutt on the players and the MOMENTS that made madly Bangalee what it is. in Chowrasta
  • Published 6.06.09
Anjan Dutt

Young, peppy and fun, it’s drawing more crowds than The Bong Connection or Chalo Let’s Go.... After the low of Chowrasta: Crossroads of Life, Anjan Dutt has struck the right chord with Madly Bangalee.

Dutt rewinds to give t2 a behind-the-scenes account...

The flashpoint: Tin Can and me...

The confrontation between San, the character I play, and the band members in the film was being played out on the sets as well. It was between me and Tin Can (the performing arts group which forms the main cast of Madly Bangalee).

The Tin Can team is very opinionated. They are very self-confident and they have a lot of attitude. And that’s precisely why I chose them. But they had their own way of approaching cinema and they would improvise on the sets. They refused to mug up their lines and would make up their own instead! Kanti (Pablo) would be late on the sets, which added to the problems.

So, there was a constant confrontation between my team and them... constant arguing! I had to monitor them all the time and my production people would always complain about them. And one day, there was a major showdown.

But Tin Can’s strong point is their attitude and I felt that if I made them submit to me I would be destroying the film. I think there’s nothing wrong to be like them when you are young. Even I was like them when I was young. I remember Mrinalda (Sen) scolding me for smoking grass on the sets (laughs).

But slowly we came very close and at one point I had to become a father to them. Once we were through with the shooting it was very difficult for me to disconnect from them. I miss them a lot. And they too had problems when the film was over. Sumeet (Baaji) and Roshni (Joy) were very upset emotionally.

The kissing scene and the internal tension...

(From left) Tanaji, Anubrata, Kanti and Sumeet in a moment from Madly Bangalee

When I look back I find it funny but Anubrata (Benji) and Anasuya (Taniya) had major fights over the kissing scene Anubrata had with Roshni. Anubrata and Anasuya were in a relationship and they are still going very steady. When Anubrata and Roshni did the kissing scene, Anasuya was very hurt and wouldn’t come to the sets, and I didn’t know how to handle it!

Anubrata had no problems doing the scene. He is extremely shameless and I think all good actors have to be very shameless. Roshni was at ease too. They chatted, discussed the scene and did it like thorough professionals. I only helped by showing them how to do a kissing scene, how they should tilt their noses and things like that.... There was no NG (not good) shot because of them, if there was any it was because of us.

What’s interesting is that they shot the scene in front of a room full of people. What usually happens while shooting such scenes is that the director orders everyone out of the room to make the actors comfortable. I remember while shooting an intimate scene for Juganta, Roopa (Ganguly) had requested Rinadi (Aparna Sen) to make everyone leave the room and later I found out that everyone was either hiding under the bed or the table!

Why Supriya Chowdhury was unhappy with her role...

Supriyadi didn’t want to do a one-scene part at all. She told me that I had reduced Soumitrada (Chatterjee) to an extra in Bong Connection and she feared I would do the same with her in Madly Bangalee. Though I tried to explain to her that it was not so, she was apprehensive about her role and her clothes. She wasn’t happy either during the shoot or after the shooting. Only during the dubbing did she realise how important her role was in the scheme of things and she became so emotional that she actually wept while dubbing the scene where she cries.

I was determined to take her because among Madhabi Mukherjee, Sabitri Chatterjee and she, Supriyadi is the most adventurous and, I would say, outrageous. She was a rocker during her time and her character in Madly Bangalee is very much like a young Supriya.

The actors who have surprised me...

Tanaji, who plays the bassist Neon, couldn’t hold a guitar before the film. He was so passionate about his work that he bought a bass guitar, which I think is not very easy because these kids don’t have the kind of money to splurge. Sumeet, the drummer Baaji, knew nothing about drums and he learnt to play it so well. He also made the bustee a part of himself so smoothly.

The two actors who carried the film on their shoulders are Saswata (Chatterjee) and Chandan (Sen). They are so versatile that you can give them any role you want.

Playing San was not difficult for me...

It’s my kind of role. I am close to the character’s attitude. For me casting someone in this role was more difficult. I couldn’t find anyone.... San is someone who has travelled a lot, comes from a vintage family, is well-read and yet is a failure. He is a Bohemian. I have seen many people like San. He is based partly on Gautam Chatterjee (of Mohiner Ghoraguli), partly Kabir Suman.