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    Buddhadeb Dasgupta returns with twin bonanza

    [Interview by Sujoy Dhar]
    Tuesday, May 31, 2005
    Well-known Bengali director Buddhadeb Dasgupta, after his acclaimed "Mondo Meyer Upakhyan" (Tale of a Naughty Girl), returns with two films, including a Rahul Bose-Sameera Reddy starrer.

    The poet-director''s "Swapner Din... Chased by Dreams" and "Kalpurush... Memories in the Mist", starring Rahul and Sameera, are in Bengali and awaiting commercial release in India.

    "Swapner Din" was screened under the Masters of World Cinema section at the recent Toronto Film Festival. The film is travelling to at least 30 other international film festivals.

    Buddhadeb says despite having a producer like Bollywood biggie Jhamu Sughand, he has not made any departure from his original ethos of filmmaking.

    "The reality as we think is actually boring and predictive. In the real hides the unreal, with a drop of dream and magic making life interesting," he says of his film.

    "''Swapner Din'' captures the latent dreams of three characters who come together and then things happen in their lives." Bengali superstar Prosenjit stars in the film.

    "Paresh (Prosenjit Chatterjee), the central character of my film, travels from one village to another screening an educational film. He falls in love with the image of a girl in one film and dreams of finding her one day," Buddhadeb told IANS in an interview.
    "Another character Chapal (Bengali television actor Rajesh Sharma), a jeep driver, dreams of making it rich in Dubai by sneaking into that country on a forged passport.
    "There is Amina (played by Rimi Sen of 'Hungama'), a pregnant Muslim girl, who had migrated with her husband from Bangladesh to India and whose husband is killed in the Gujarat riots. She wants to return to her own country to give her unborn child an identity.
    "The mosaic of their dreams constantly has to face realistic conflicts. Though things go haywire and Chapal dies, the survivors continue to dream," Buddhadeb says.
    "Fate cannot be the same for everyone but as long as life continues, hope never dies. I made this film driven by my inner queries like 'What is our root?' 'What exactly can we call our own?'" he says.
    "'Swapner Din' is about the chequered maze of life, its uncertainties and wonders. The film also reflects today's India," says the filmmaker.
    Buddhadeb's celluloid journey began in 1979 with "Durotto" (The Distance). A lecturer in economics, he had no formal training in filmmaking when he began dabbling in cinema.
    His fans are eagerly awaiting the release of "Kalpurush..Memories of the Mist" where Bollywood screen scorcher Sameera Reddy plays an ambitious wife.
    "'Kalpurush', based on my story 'America Ami', is a film where Rahul Bose plays our 21st century hero who survives, conquers and fights back. The film questions the definition of success. In the film, Rahul and actor Mithun Chakraborty are son and father and are not successful in the sense that we categorise success," says Buddhadeb.
    "It is the story of a father and son who come at a junction where death seems sweeter than life. The father is seeking escape while the son selects life despite the darkness and deformities."
    Was the choice to cast Sameera Reddy (after Bipasha Basu reportedly refused the role) a market-driven decision?
    "There is no harm in making your film saleable and so far as the director is grounded to his roots, a cast makes no difference.
    "But I cast Sameera because her face has a certain ruthlessness that can do justice to the role of an ambitious wife who shares a cold relationship with her husband whose lack of success is a shame to her," says Buddhadeb.
    "'Kalpurush', which is now on the editing table, talks about ever changing human relationships, touched with a series of surreal sequences and underlined with humour," says the filmmaker.
    Buddhadeb had bagged the Special Award for Best Director in the 2000 Venice Film Festival for his film "Uttara" (The Wrestler), 43 years after Satyajit Ray's second of the famous Apu trilogy "Aparajito" won The Golden Lion at Venice.
    Journeys are what fascinate filmmaker Buddhadeb. So his films like "Mondo Meyer Upakhyan", "Uttara" and "Lal Darja" (The Red Door) deal with magical journeys in the lost world of innocence and fantasy, inspired by filmmakers like Luis Bunuel.


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