Mumbai, July 19 (IANS) Parambrata Chattopadhyay’s new directorial venture “Shonar Pahar” was not easy to make. The film has a 70-year and a seven-year-old protagonist. One played by veteran and temperamental Tanuja, the other by a child who never faced a camera — excessive mood swings were expected on the sets.
Luckily for the Bengali actor-director the two lead actors not only loved the script but also liked each other “immensely”.
Recalls the “Pari” actor fondly, “Before shooting it was very important to know if the two main leads were compatible.
“I took the boy, Srijato Bandhopadhyay, to meet Tanujaji at the hotel where she was staying. He was as casual and relaxed around her as only a child unaware of her reputation, can be.
“They hit it off instantly. She wanted to know when we would start rehearsing.”
Just how Parambrata found his two leads? “The casting of the boy was crucial. My hunt started long back. Since I was originally to shoot ‘Shonar Pahar’ in 2016. I met scores of little boys.
“I was dismayed by the way parents pushed their progenies into my face, all pink-cheeked and sometimes with full makeup. I finally went to the Nehru Children’s Museum.
“That is where I saw Srijato and immediately took a liking. However when I asked his age he raised his left hand to show me the five fingers. I needed someone two years older and selected another boy.
“Again luckily for me the shooting got delayed by nearly two years. By then the boy I had chosen had become slightly too old. Srijato was just the right age,” said the “Kahaani” actor.
As for Tanuja, Parambrata had heard stories of her moods and though she was his first choice he had an alternative ready.
“I had spoken to Aparna Sen about the role even before I met Tanujaji. But when I flew to Mumbai to meet Tanujaji at her farm in Lonavala she instantly loved the script. There was no problem at all in getting her consent.
“After the film was complete Aparna Sen saw it and said she was glad I signed Tanujaji for the role.”
“Shonar Pahar” raises vital questions on the disintegration of the joint family. “We need to understand the value of people who are around us. I think ‘Shonar Pahar’ makes that point,” says Parambrata.
However, his next film is not the least in the realistic humane space. “It’s an out-and-out escapist entertainer about an African national in Kolkata who ends up becoming a football pro. We have signed a Nigerian model for the main part,” he said.
He will be playing a taxi driver in the film. Parmbrata has pushed the shooting of his next film to early 2019.
“Let the audience absorb and get over Shonar Pahar. The film has a long life yet on the internet, etc. I want a decent gap before my next film comes because my next film is as different from ‘Shonar Pahar’ as can be.”