Heart of the matter

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By RESHMI SENGUPTA
  • Published 19.03.05
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What does the audience expect when a film claims to be exploring male sexual fantasies? A sleaze feast, or a serious commentary on conventional notions? Director Kaushik Ganguly promises to have stuck to the second in Shunya e Buke (Empty Canvas), slated for a Poila Baisakh (April 15) release.

Shunya e Buke strikes at the root of the male psyche, says Ganguly, the fantasies that it weaves and the consequences when a woman fails to match the standards. ?There?s not a single shot in the film that borders on the obscene. It?s the issue I am interested in,? said Ganguly, on his second film after Warish.

The story tracks a bunch of four artist friends who take a trip to Khajuraho to study temple architecture. One of them meets a woman and marries her, only to be repelled by her flat-chested body on their wedding night. As the principal cast (Koushik Sen, Churni Ganguly and Tota Roy Chowdhury) finds itself embroiled in an emotional turmoil, the uneasy questions of fantasy and reality keep tumbling out of the closet of love and lust.

And though a little wary of viewer response, director Ganguly feels the slew of teaser ads and the pre-launch seminar would help raise awareness on the issue.

The teaser ad ? bhora buk na bukbhora bhalobasha ? swamping the city?s streets and alleys was followed up with an interactive session on the topic on Friday with a panel comprising Churni, Tota, Koushik, writer Taslima Nasreen, singer Shilajeet and journalist Ranjan Bandopadhyay.

Admitting that the film was a tough project, Koushik said: ?I was required to give my extra bit to this character. And while doing so, the boundaries between actor and human being were blurred. Because the question, whether it is the body that binds two people or it is love that draws them close, is a universal one.?

However one may try to skirt the issue, no man can deny his fascination for a beautiful woman, claimed Tota.

For Churni, essaying the controversial role turned out to be an edifying experience. ?A woman should be judged by what she has accomplished in her life rather than her physical beauty,? she asserted.

?But I wonder why the issue is being viewed from the male perspective only. Why haven?t you thought of the problems a flat-chested woman has to face?? countered writer Taslima Nasreen, from the other end of the table.

Produced by Forthright Media and Entertainment, Shunya e Buke was screened at the Tongues on Fire Film Festival in London on Friday.