Hawa Bodol is a simple enjoyable comedy: Parambrata

Amitava Bhattacharya18 Mar 2013

Parambrata is undoubtedly one of the best talents of Tollywood. Today, he has a heart-to-heart conversation with Gomolo about his new film Hawa Bodol, his beliefs, his journey in the film industry and a lot more.

Tell us about the initial phase of Hawa Bodol.

I was toying with a couple of ideas. I am 30 now. When I was looking back at all those years, so many memories of friends, fun moments, reckless stuff come rushing in. But things have now changed completely. I have changed, my friends have changed. In fact, I lost touch with most of them. But I cherish those memories, and always wished if I could get some part of it back. When you bump into an old friend after a long time, you not only tend to recollect memories, but also review your friend subconsciously. You try to gauge how much he/she has changed, and in the process you end up reviewing your own life and the way it is right now. It gives you a nice opportunity to look at your own life from an objective point of view. Once you start doing that, you might have a clearer view of the things which are not so right with your life and that might cause trouble. One also realizes that the days of boyhood are gone, it's time we become men and that makes you look at life in a different way too. It is indeed a change of weather post 30's for men, i feel; and coupled with a chance meeting with an old friend, the feeling is only aggravated. These are complex thoughts and outcome of the complicated ways our minds work, but presented in a garb of a simple enjoyable comedy... [Paused for a couple of moments] ... and that's how it all started. I shared the thoughts with Anindya da (Bose) and said to him, "Erokom kichu ekta banale hoy na?" (Let's make something like this?), and things started rolling.

Parambrata from Jiyo Kaka and Parambrato from Hawa Bodol - how has Parambrato evolved as a director?

I was pretty young when I made 'Jiyo Kaka'. It was 2009. A good 4 years have passed now. My ways of looking at things, cinema, acting, etc were different from now. After that I went to England for studies. That period in my life had profoundly affected me. I came back here as a completely different person. Inside out, I was more matured; and that made me evolve as an actor, director, or for that matter anything else! Yes, of course, there's a common base. I would say I grew up rapidly from the Parambrato of Jiyo Kaka during this phase. The thread remains, but it's much more matured now.

Are you more comfortable as an actor or as a director?

Anything in the world of cinema, and I am game for it. I am completely at ease with both these roles. I also dabble a bit at music occasionally. I am happy to do anything as long as you keep me within the realm of celluloid. Take me out of it, I will not survive. The closest thing I could do is probably the advertisement. It's a somewhat aligned form of art that I live in. Nothing else would work. Without movies, I am a fish without water!

What would Parambrato do in case he had a nagging wife like Tanuka (Raima Sen’s character)?

I guess all married men have possibly faced this dilemma in their conjugal life. On a serious note, I think it's important to keep the communication channel open. In marriage, most often this takes a backseat. There's this ego that makes things difficult after a certain point. So, if I had had a wife like Tanuka, I would probably be all ears to hear her out, and then put across my feeling very gently to her, like what I am thinking, why am I thinking, etc. May be that would diffuse the tension, and we'd be walking on the right track. Listening, I think, is very important in relationships.

We have seen the rocking Parambrata - Rudranil friendship on screen from the promos. How it was working with him?

Rudra and my friendship goes a long way in this industry. We know each other very well. So, it was a cakewalk to hit the camaraderie on screen with him. It was fascinating to watch him enacting the role of a long lost pal, a struggling musician. I don't have to tell much about him. He's one of the finest actors of our times. From the time I was creating this character, I had no one but Rudra in my mind for this. We acted spontaneously. Only when he was acting alone, I had to don the director's hat to give him the perspective. At times, he becomes so immersed in his character that one needs to knock him out of it.

There's a talk of re-emergence of Bengali cinema in last 3-4 years. Bengalis are coming back to theaters for watching Bengali films. Autograph somewhat changed the landscape?

Oh yes! It's an exciting time to be a part of this wave. Autograph was a good start. But, the wind of change started happening a little earlier than Autograph. There's this gentleman named Anjan Dutta, who I would like to think to be the real game changer. Anjan da had started making these commercial art house films back in the 90s. These films were intellectually stimulating and at the same time simple enough for a wide range of audience. Ritu da too made such films at that time. But the problem was they were far too less. But the trend caught on slowly. For the last few years, it's a tremendous surge. Bengalis have come back to the theaters. They are watching all types of movies - from commercial potboilers to the art house cinema - they're watching it all; specially the young generation. It's sometimes so unbelievable that both the streams are co-existing today. On one hand, there are Jeet, Dev, Sohom who are quite popular, and on the other hand, there's Abir, me who're doing different types of movies but enjoy the similar following. It was simply not possible 5 years back.

And then I must thank Shree Venkatesh films who is also one of the pillars of this re-emergence. They're the ones who bring the business side to the industry. The professionalism, commercialism that you see in Tollywood today, a lot of credit goes to these guys. And that's why they are able to make a wide range of films and make them successful.

What's your take on film marketing? Do you think film-makers must be deeply involved in the process?

Absolutely! Gone are the days when the directors' job would be done once the shooting wraps up. Marketing is hugely important in today's context. And a director can guide a lot on the campaigns, because he/she knows the product inside out. Today, marketing is one of the biggest contributing factors in any film's success. We're living in the age of entertainment chaos, or overdose as you say. People have so many options at their disposal. So, how to bring a film in their attention radar? Only, and only a good marketing campaign will be able to create that window. One of the reasons that Shree Venkatesh films is able to create the consumption appetite among Bengali viewers is that they do the marketing so well. They understand the psyche, and create campaigns to suit the needs.

To underline why I am emphasizing on the marketing aspect, I would like to tell you an example. A good friend of mine, Aditi, made an absolute gem of a film last year - Aboseshe. Believe me, it was outstanding, and I told her that it's a dream debut for any filmmaker. But, I was so sad to find out that almost nobody knew such a film even released. It can't be more unfortunate than that.

What's on the plate at the moment?

I am toying with an idea for some time now. But that may take some time to materialize. I have my plate full on acting assignments. The director in me will have to take a little back seat for now. Then, I am also working on two Bollywood movies. I would love to do more Bollywood films. At the same time, there are so many exciting Bengali projects already in the pipeline! So, I have to balance the both world.

Kahaani released in the month of March last year, which was a huge success, and brought you to the national limelight. You were featured in Hottest Bollywood debut of 2012 too. Is it a co-incidence that you're releasing Hawa Bodol in March too? :)

[Laughs] A pure co-incidence...

Any plans to release the film outside West Bengal?

I am aware of the commercial prospects of releasing to 'probashi' (Bongs living outside Bengal) Bengalis who wait eagerly for good Bengali movies in their cities. But at the moment, no concrete plans.

Finally, any message to the fans?

With Hawa Bodol, I've tried to make a simple entertaining film which talks about certain truths of life, but with the cover of crisp serious-comical situations. I feel that the genre of comedy is a great resort if you want to say a few things about life. I absolutely do not believe in preaching sermons to the audience; that's not what they come to the theatre for. As a viewer, I want my movie watching experience to be a rewarding one, and want the film to make me think only as a latent effect. That is how I think a film grows on you. So I've tried to do something in the same lines. Fingers crossed - I hope it will be an amazing joyride for you all!

Tags: Hawa BodolParambrato ChattopadhyayInterviewFeature

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