In a clear casting coup, Bengali actresses Sharmila Tagore and Aparna Sen are finally coming together for Annirudh Roy-Chowdhary's second directorial venture Antaheen.
Technically, they were together in Satyajit Ray's Aranyer Din Ratri, where Sharmila played the lead while Aparna had a walk-on part. They, however, didn't come face to face in the film.
"My Antaheen brings them together for the first time," Roy-Chowdhary told IANS.
"I think some history is being created here. Both the ladies are extremely professional and helpful. I couldn't have asked for more. Imagine working with the two legendary beauties in my second film," he added.
In their heyday, Sharmila migrated to Mumbai, leaving Kolkata for Aparna to rule. In Mumbai, however, Aparna could never find a foothold.
Aparna's clinching bloomer was when she turned down Shakti Samanta's Aradhana, the role that proved a career-making boon for Sharmila. Since then, there was no looking back for the two ageless divas.
"How did I manage what you call a casting coup? I didn't have to do anything. I just narrated the parts that I had written for Rinkudi (Sharmila) and Reenadi (Aparna) to them. They both fell in love with their roles," the director said.
Roy-Chowdhary, whose directorial debut Anuranan featuring Rahul Bose, Rajat Kapoor and Raima Sen was released in a dubbed Hindi version earlier this year, is now shooting important scenes with Sharmila and Aparna in Kolkata.
While Aparna plays a television tycoon, Sharmila has been cast as a deglamourised but very progressive single woman in the film, being made in Bengali.
Rahul Bose, who plays Sharmila's nephew in the movie, says of his role: "We live together, just me and my aunt. Am I not lucky? I started by working with Aparna's and Sharmilaji's daughters. And now I'm working with the legendary moms. That's quite some movement forward."
According to the director, the two legendary moms are still a class apart.
"I did a very important dramatic sequence with the two of them. And it was magic," he maintained.
"The spoken language in the film and on the sets is Bengali. I don't think the film's drama will work in any other language. Just like it needed Bengali, it also needed Sharmila and Aparna. That's why they're together in this film," Roy-Chowdhary said.