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Physical Love is what matters afterall says Kamaleswar Mukherjee
By Hemanth Reddy S 11/01/2016

There's an yet-untitled next with Prosenjit Chatterjee, Paoli and Raima Sen and the sequel to Chander Pahar with Dev. In between, he is working as a creative director for a TV series on the life of Uttam Kumar and several other theatre projects. Before taking off for a recce trip to South America, Kamaleswar Mukherjee spoke to us about things close to his heart. Excerpts:



Last year, Srijit Mukherji met with an accident just before starting Kakababu and you too came back with a fractured leg from Malaysia while doing the recce for Chander Pahar 2. What's going wrong?
Well, I didn't do it deliberately to audition for Kakababu's role in Srijit's film (laughs). On a serious note, Srijit's accident was more worrying, while mine is not that severe. Though my doctor has prescribed complete bed rest, I am busy doing the post production of my next (yet untitled), where Prosenjit Chatterjee, Raima Sen and Paoli play the lead. Ronodeep and Tridha also have meaty roles in the movie. It's a relationship tale spruced up with thriller elements. Two love stories of different generations run parallel only to merge at the end.

Heard there are many steamy scenes between Prosenjit and Paoli in the film...
Jol gorom kora golpo, steam toh uthbei! How can a romantic film be complete without intimate scenes? I don't believe in platonic love. Love is like contact sports. And since the subject of my film is love, steamy scenes are integral to it.

So, Kamaleswar Mukherjee is all for physical love, right?
Platonic love might have existed in Plato's time, but not now. Yes, I believe in physical love.

At a time when kissing scenes have come under the scanner, are you hopeful of getting an okay from the censor board?
When I made Chander Pahar, I was worried about inviting censor board's wrath for featuring so many animals. Now, I've made an intimate film. If I keep on fearing about things, I will never be able to make films, especially romantic films. In 2016, how can I show love or passion between a man and a woman by showing birds and bees?

How was it working with Raima and Paoli?
Paoli is extremely talented, while Raima is a director's actor who lives in her own world. Both are a delight to watch once the camera starts rolling.

You have worked with both the Tollywood superstars — Prosenjit and Dev. How different are they from each other?
Well, Bumbada (Prosenjit) is much more mature as he has been in this industry for years. The experience he has gained over the years, added to his ever-helping attitude, makes him the 'go to' person in Tollywood. I first met Bumbada eight years back with this script and over the years our relationship has turned more personal than professional. What I like about Bumbada is his involvement in a film. From reading the script till dubbing, he is more than willing to give his all to a film. Moreover, he is a production-friendly actor that makes him loveable in any unit. And I have seen no other actor who can read a director's mind so well. Looking at my face, Bumbada can figure out if I am happy with a shot or not. Dev's persistence, on the other hand, is enviable. His behaviour despite his stardom is his USP and sets him apart from others. He is one actor who loves to take risks. During the shoot of Chander Pahar, there were a few difficult and dangerous shots for which we wanted to use a body double, but Dev was hell-bent on doing the stunts on his own. That apart, he is extremely disciplined. During the shoot of Chander Pahar, the call time used to be at 5 am. Dev would take an hour to do the makeup, but he would not just wake up early but also do regular workouts as fitness was a must for rock-climbing and horse-riding shown in the film.

You are working as a creative director for the teleseries, Mahanayak, directed by Birsa Dasgupta where Prosenjit plays Uttam Kumar. To the Bengali audience, Uttam Kumar is the be-all and end-all of cinema. How hopeful are you of this venture clicking with Bengalis?

The curiosity around Uttam Kumar is tremendous. Bengalis are obsessed with the untold stories of his life. It is only possible if someone recreates his life and works. I think Mahanayak will be gladly accepted by all. Rather than trying to achieve a similar physical look, we are concentrating more on grabbing the soul of the stalwart through this venture. We have researched well in order to be authentic to the time. Moreover, Uttam Kumar's daughter-in-law, Mohuaboudi, is helping us a lot to put the project together. The series will show the ups and downs in the life of Uttam Kumar. Many unknown stories about the screen idol will get revealed in this project.

Casting for this project must have been crucial. What made you approach Prosenjit to play Uttam Kumar?
Mahanayak is a work of fiction and not a biopic. So, the actor playing the part did not need to look like Uttam Kumar. We have only tried to capture the time frame and directors, actors, producers involved in Mahanayak's life with this series. I do not know who other than Bumbada could have played Uttam Kumar... He is himself a superstar. And Bumbada has seen him from close quarters as both the families were close.

Today's generation is not aware of the huge fan following Uttam Kumar had. Will GenY be able to relate to it?
The 100 episodes in the series are full of dramatic stories surrounding Uttam Kumar, which will be shot more like a film. I'm sure everyone will love it. Suchitra Sen, Supriya Devi, Gauri Devi, Sabitri Chatterjee, Ritwik Ghatak, Kanan Devi, Soumitra Chatterjee, Chhabi Biswas and several other directors and producers who played important roles in the life of the Mahanayak, will find mention in the series. They are the ones who will take the story forward.

There are a lot of controversies surrounding Uttam Kumar's life. Will all that get documented in this series?
We will not show controversies for the sake of it. But yes, some of these will be documented with empathy. Like when Suchitra-Uttam had reached the peak of popularity, director Haridas Bhattacharya of Rajlakshmi O Srikanta said it was becoming increasingly difficult to work with the duo because of the battle of egos. This has already been documented. Then it was Suchitra Sen's directive that the credit rolls mention Suchitra-Uttam and not Uttam-Suchitra. Moreover, Uttam Kumar was witness to a political murder, so that too will be shown. There are many such stories...

On the one hand, you are working as a creative director for Mahanayak and on the other hand, you are doing the pre-production of Chander Pahar 2. How are you balancing the two?
I am still working on the script of Chander Pahar 2, so I wouldn't say I'm hard-pressed for time. But yes, a lot of research needs to be done for Mahanayak as the audience is too sensitive about the man. So, we have to be extra careful. That apart, my theatre projects are taking up a lot of time.

Tell us about Chander Pahar 2. Heard it will be shot in South America...


It's too early to talk about the project, as I am still developing the script and the story. It is a completely new story with Shankar as the protagonist. Yes, we plan to shoot in Amazon if it is at all feasible. Let's see, fingers crossed.

 

 

The commerce of Bengali films is a big concern now as those made on a small budget can only recover money. Chander Pahar was a big-budget film, so will be its sequel. Is that a reason to worry about?

 


The audience today is most unpredictable. What they will like or discard is not known to any director or producer. Content of a film is of utmost importance and one good thing is that the demarcation between the rural and urban audience is slowly fading. It's true that we need to make films on a low budget so that the producer can recover money and even make a profit. Chander Pahar, despite its budget, was a box-office hit. But there's no reason to follow the same model as there is no formula for a hit film.

 

 

Heard you are set to direct a psychological story in Hindi where Rituparna Sengupta will play the lead...

 


Talks are on but I am still not sure if it will be in Hindi or Bengali.

source: TOI


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