Bengali film-maker Goutam Ghose isn't too pleased with the experience of releasing his third Hindi film Yatra starring Nana Patekar, Rekha and Deepti Naval.
Ghose, who had to get it ready for a rushed Friday release, told IANS: "It's been quite a journey for me. The film was completed in September last year. The first copy came out at the end of August 2006. Then for some reason the film was submitted late for censorship. There, the film got stuck with the animal board. They objected to three shots of a caged bird. It was an inconsequential shot.
"However, the reason given for the objection was weird. I was told I could show any other species of the bird, but not this one because it was an endangered species. Very strange."<b1>
Then there was no sign of Yatra until now, when producer Bipin Vora suddenly decided to release the film. "I don't know why this haste after such a long delay! I'm just the creator. I really don't understand the intricacies of marketing. Fortunately, I'm the film's cinematographer, therefore equipped to handle the rushed requirement for prints without blotching them up. So here I am in Hyderabad making the prints."
But Ghose is satisfied with the end product. "I'm very hopeful. Yatra is a major film for all the four principal players - Nana, Nakul Vaid, Rekha and Deepti. They should come forward and support it. Yatra needs nurturing. Which it isn't getting. I'm really upset. But what to do? I guess every film has its own destiny."
Cutting down the widely held opinion that Rekha has a cameo in Yatra, Ghose asserts, "She has a major role. She's the protagonist Dashrath's muse. She was joking with me the other day about how her role would be perceived. I told her to take it easy.
"The trouble with our actors is that they want to do so many things in one film. They want to sing, jump, dance and fly. Rekha has done a mujra and a beautiful item song 'Babujee dheere chalna', not to mention some kathak dancing. Yatra is trapped between fantasy and fiction, between being and non-being. And Rekha represents that surreal quality."
Unluckily, Ghose isn't Mumbai-based.
<b2>"I stay in Kolkata. So I can never be your Bollywood-wallah. To make matters even more complicated for Yatra, I've lately been busy with a 10-part series of short stories for Doordarshan. "I've rendered a Sahitya Akademi winning novel Kalbela by Somresh Mazumdar. I was very excited by this because the novel is a love story set in the troubled Kolkata of the 1960s and 70s. That's when I was a student in the city. So Kalbela' gives me a chance to go back to my youth." The good news is Doordarshan intends to turn the mini-series into a feature film.
"A lot of my colleagues, including Mrinal Sen, suggested a version for the theatres. So the film is being released in theatres May 27. Just imagine. My Hindi film and my Bengali film are neck-to-neck. I feel completely disoriented running from Kolkata to Delhi to Hyderabad and Kolkata."