Kolkata-based director Gautam Ghose is currently busy putting the finishing touches to Yatra, produced by Bipin Kumar Vohra and featuring Rekha and Nana Patekar. He's hoping it receives the kind of acclaim Abhar Aranye did. In Mumbai recently for the post-production of his film, the filmmaker tells us about Yatra, Rekha and future projects.
Why the long gap since your last Hindi film Gudiya?
I was busy with my Bengali projects. I was working on a couple of documentaries, including ones on Jyoti Basu, the Dalai Lama and Satyajit Ray. They were important documentaries which required a lot of research which took a lot of time. In the interim I also made Abhar Aranye, which was a sequel to Ray's Aranyer Din Rattir, with Sharmila Tagore. Tabu was an addition to the original casting. Apart from that I wasn't happy with Gudiya, and dissatisfied as a filmmaker. At the end of the day, it's my fault as the director. Add to that, there were some problems between the producer and distributor.
|Gautam Ghose is currently busy putting the finishing touches to Yatra. The film is based on the journey the protagonist Dashrath Joglekar undertakes by train from his hometown Hyderabad to Delhi to receive an award for his latest novel.|
How much of your own life have you incorporated into
is the journey the protagonist Dashrath Joglekar undertakes by train from his hometown Hyderabad to Delhi to receive an award for his latest novel. There are autobiographical elements in the film, like my journey as a filmmaker, what I've absorbed from around myself along the way and I've used them to tell this story. On the way Dashrath meets a filmmaker who is more into ad films after the failure of his debut feature. Being a great fan of Dashrath's, he expresses his desire to make a film based on Dashrath's novel. Their conversations take Dashrath back to his earlier book
where he had combined fact and fiction to create Lajwanti, the protagonist. And all of a sudden he comes across Lajwanti (Rekha) in real life. The film oscillates between real and surreal, giving me scope to play with time and space — that challenged me as a director.
What prompted you to cast actors with different temperaments like Nana Patekar and Rekha?
I've known Nana for a long time now and we've often talked about working together when an apt subject comes along. And it came naturally with Yatra because the author is a Maharash trian. Though initially I didn't know if he would do it as it's be lieved he charges Rs one crore, which is high for our kind of budget. But Nana was gracious to accept a token amount from the producer. I wanted Rekha to do the role because the character doesn't change much in 15 years. Who else would fit that role? She's perfect for the part and has given a fabulous performance. I think Deepti Naval is a very underrated actress, and for a long time she's been busy with other things like painting. I wanted to bring her back to the screen with a role that befits her potential as an actress.
But given that they have mostly done commercial films, was it easy for you to adapt to their style and vice versa?
It's very important for me to share a friendly rapport with my actors, which came easily with Nana, who's taken the film to another level with his performance. Rekha was initially apprehensive about the role and the method because we work more like a theatre group. It took her a couple of days to settle down and after that she was a complete natural. When you see the film you'll notice how they've brought out the finer nuances of the characters with their individuality.
You seem to have found some convenient methods to put your film together.
It's natural to use new technology in one's profession. I got myself an advanced high configuration laptop with the latest software. I stored the entire film on the hard-drive and edited it on my laptop. It's very comfortable, convenient and completely cuts out booking an editing studio. In case I want something done, I can do it instantly. Digital intermediate is another thing I've used in the film. This technique is helpful in manipulating colours, creating effects and adding layers. With every new medium of technology, one moves a step ahead in one's profession.
What's next on your agenda? Will we have to wait long for your next Hindi film?
I've already planned the next one. It's an Indo-Italian production, which I'm thinking of calling The Little Boy. It's about the observations of a European teacher of a 12 year old boy who's caught in adverse circumstances. He goes back and teaches the lessons he learnt from the little boy to his students in Europe. As for the next Hindi film, it shouldn't take so long.