The flavour of Kolkata

The flavour of Kolkata
The city is known for its old alleys. One such is shot by Atanu Pal.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Pratim D Gupta talks 'Ahare Mon'

Last August, he served us a delectable Maacher Jhol. Set in Paris and Kolkata, the film gave us a hitherto unthought of Ritwick as an internationally acclaimed Masterchef in a sensitive mother-son tale. It won both critical and popular acclaim.

This time around, he has trained his focus on pairs of minds of various ages and how they vibe with each other. Simply speaking, an out-of-the-box take on love and companionship, so nicely and aptly named Ahare Mon. It boasts of an eclectic ensemble cast of Anjan Dutt, Mamata Shankar, Ritwik Chakraborty, Parno Mitra, Paoli Dam, Adil Hussain and debutante Chitrangada Chakraborty.

In this short interview, Pratim D Gupta talks on various aspects of his new film in his usual candid manner. Ahare Mon releases on 22nd June 2018.

Pratim D Gupta with Mamata Shankar on the sets of Ahare Mon

Kolkata Curry: If we call Paanch Adhyay vanilla romance, Ahare Mon seems to be a layered, out-of-the-box take on on the subject. Was there a common thread in conceiving all the four stories? How did the stories fall in place?

Pratim: I had two of the stories with me for a very long time. The airport immigration officer story which I had first thought of at least 12-13 years back. And the story of the two thieves too was something I have wanted to see on screen for at least a decade. There are two friends of mine in Mumbai - Harneet and Kartik - and I would discuss with them the Michael Tendulkar-Suzie Q love story. But at that stage both were one line premises. The two other stories emerged last year when I thought of clubbing these short stories together into one feature film. The common thread is love, of course, but it's also about loneliness and companionship and the eternal wait for love.

KC: Given an opportunity in the past, you had a wish to shoot Adil's story with Mithun. They have different appeals and screen presence. What made you select Adil apart from the fact that he is a gifted actor and you admire his work? Did you have to rewrite the track for him?

Pratim: When I thought of that story, I had Mithunda's face in mind. That was a dozen years back. When I finally sat down last year to write out the screenplay, I knew Mithun da would most likely not be available to play the role of Purnendu Pahari. So I didn't have any actor in mind when I finally scripted that story. I tried a couple of actors from the Bengali film industry first and waited for each of them for weeks to confirm their dates. But they just couldn't shuffle their calendar, despite their best efforts. Adil was like an SOS call although he wasn't aware how panicked we all were. Within a day of me sending him the script, he got back saying, "I've just read a couple of pages and I want to do this".

KC: I love both the songs- Monta Ahare and Ahare Mon. Written, composed and sung beautifully, they are urbane and very contemporary in sound. But why did you limit the songs to just two in a romantic tale?

Pratim: It's more of a drama. Not romance in the sense of a Yash Chopra or Karan Johar film. The truth remains that songs hold up the screenplay. So, although I love music and participate heavily in the creation of songs and background scores of my films, I try to keep songs to the minimum.

KC: The Anjan-Mamata pair is coming back  after Jani Dyakha Hawbe (2011). Did you cast them keeping in mind, among other things, their recent and past on-screen chemistry (in Kharij and Grihajuddha)?

Pratim: Can I tell you the truth? I haven't seen Kharij. And I couldn't complete Jani Dyakha Hawbe. Sorry, Birsa! Grihajuddha I have seen but to be honest, no film or moment from earlier films played any role in scripting the Barun Babu - Charulata Debi portion or while directing Anjan Dutt and Mamata Shankar in Ahare Mon. This is a whole new pitch and believe me they have simply knocked it out of the park. Their hotel scene will remain special.

#AhareMon  #BanglaCinema  #BanglaCinema2018  #Cinema

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