In 1964, Satyajit Ray adapted a Rabindranath Tagore novella, Nashtanirh (The Broken Nest), to make the classic Charulata (The Lonely Wife). Twenty-seven years later, Agnidev Chatterjee, who admits to having seen Ray’s film many times, is gearing up to launch Charulata 2011 on September 4. It features National Award-winning actor Rituparna Sengupta as a contemporary Chauti whose Facebook id is Charulata 2011.
“Yes, I’m inspired by both Tagore and Ray, but apart from the basic story idea of a lonely, neglected housewife drawn to a younger man in the cyber world, my film has no similarities with either the novel or the film. I’d like to think that this is how Tagore would have perceived his Charu today,” says Chatterjee.
His cyber romance forges a connection between Sengupta and Samadarshi Dutta, whose chat id is Amol, reminiscent of a young Soumitra Chatterjee in Ray’s Charulata. “In the US, a man was able to get a divorce when the court accepted under that cyber romance falls into the purview of adultery. We’ve incorporated that angle too. The ending, which is very different from the book or the film, will come as a shock.”
Bratya Basu, minister of education in West Bengal, is Vikramjeet, a modern day Bhupati Dutta, Chaurulata’s preoccupied, much-older husband. Chatterjee informs that Basu was to write the script for his film, but his political commitments left him with little time. He however agreed to act in the film.
“I’ve been wanting to make Chaurlata 2011 since 2007, but both Ritu and I have been busy,” he says. “Now, I plan to wrap up the shoot in 15 days and release the film by November end.”