The story of the new film Boudi Canteen charts the struggles of a middle-class woman as she fights to follow her dream against all hurdles and redefine her identity from a home-maker with a passion for cooking to a successful businesswoman and chef. Directed by Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Boudi Canteen stars Subhashree, Soham and Parambrata.
The story is by Aritra Sen, while the screenplay and dialogues are by Samragnee Bandhypadhyay and Soumyasree Ghosh. The film is produced by Roadshow Films and Shadow Films. A chat with writer-producer Aritra.
What inspired you to write the story?
The story came very naturally to me when I saw the increase in the number of women entrepreneurs around me. I have been associated with quite a few women-centric concepts that we have translated to the audio-visual medium. I wanted to narrate the journey of urban women through an idiom which is interesting as well as popular. What better than food to attract people.
Why did Param decide to direct it?
As a collaborative process we discuss all stories at Roadshow. Once I narrated the story to him he really liked it and felt that this could be that break-out story which we could take to the masses. With Param directing, it will lend a cutting edge to the narrative and he will be able to mount it in a way that the film will be entertaining as well have a soul that would touch people deeply. Once he decided to direct the film we got together a team to write the full script.
We had heard that the film is based on the life of India-born British chef Asma Khan. How does the film chronicle the journey of Asma Khan?
It does not really chronicle or follow her life. The story is completely different. It is just that we find inspiration in her journey. It gives us validation that the story that we are about tell may have a far-reaching effect and connect with people at multiple levels.
What kind of themes does this film explore?
We are trying to explore women empowerment in a very heartwarming way. Nothing too glaring or in your face but still driving home the point that every profession has its due respect and one can find her true calling in any form of work that one is extremely passionate about. It breaks the stigma of a woman getting her hands dirty and really being a hands-on entrepreneur and turning the tide in the society in which she is perceived differently. Satyajit Ray’s Mahanagar was a great inspiration when I thought of the crux of the story and we have tried to keep that humanism and general core family values intact in our endeavour. We want people to be really entertained while taking home some values and heartwarming moments from the film. The film is really quirky and drives home directly what the film is about. No beating about the bush here. Paramda also really liked the name. It’s catchy and makes people inquisitive about the film.
Know the characters
Poulomi, played by Subhashree, is a school teacher by profession but her true passion is cooking. She is not much of a disciplinarian with her students, but she can cook up a storm in the kitchen every time. She hates it when people trivialise her interest in cooking as it is not considered challenging or glamorous. But Poulomi proves through her journey that there is no substitute for determination. She braves all the hurdles that she faces to emerge as not only a chef of repute but also a businesswoman with foresight. In the process, she also becomes a pillar of support to her family.
Sourish, played by Parambrata, is a columnist at a reputed publication. He writes about women. He also dreams to become a novelist one day. He supports his wife in fulfilling her dreams but when it comes to achieving his own, Sourish is doubtful. Although a loving husband, Sourish is introverted and under-confident. Sourish spirals into self-doubt and suspicion in times of crisis. But in the end it is Poulomi’s determination that inspires Sourish to get over all of this and stand as a support for her. He also overcomes his fear and decides to pursue his dreams.
Bablu, played by Soham, is a small-time caterer who serves food in offices. But he is a businessman through and through. Bablu is determined and resourceful. He partners up with Poulomi to save his business and then expands it with her help. He is not scared to dream big or attempt to achieve it although he is aware of his limitations. Poulomi finds a dependable friend in Bablu while teaming up for their business. Bablu is heart-warming and has his quirks, which make him lovable.
Pictures: Rashbehari Das