Atanu Ghosh has made only five films in six years. The filmmaker, unlike his contemporaries, doesn’t believe in making more than one film a year. “I don’t feel the urge of making more than one film every year,” says Ghosh, who is gearing up for the release of upcoming Bengali film, Abby Sen that revolves around time travel. Though time travel isn’t a much explored subject in Bengali films, the Angshumaner Chhobi director is confident about his film striking a chord with the audience. Abby Sen starring Abir Chatterjee and Raima Sen releases on October 30. HT spoke to Ghosh on sci-fi films and more:
What made you come up with a film on time travel?
I have always wanted to experiment with new concepts and forms. Time travel seemed quite interesting, more so because it has not been tried earlier in Bengali films. Travelling between two time horizons gave me an opportunity to present a fascinating story covering two radically different sets of environments, socio-economic conditions and mindset of people bridging a gap of no less than 33 years because the story starts in 2013 and then the hero Abby Sen travels back to 1980.
This genre hasn’t been tried much in Bengali films and even Bollywood too hasn’t experimented much with this concept.
I am quite confident about the audience enjoying this new genre. Besides, the film uses time travel only as a springboard. It is not technologically or scientifically complicated. It’s very much a human story complete with romance, emotions, drama and suspense.
Do you like sci-fi films? Do you feel filmmakers refrain from experimenting with this genre because of budget?
Yes, I have been a sci-fi buff since childhood. I have literally devoured books of HG Wells, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and others. You won’t find much science fictions in Bengali literature, with Satyajit Ray, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay and Adrish Bardhan being the only notable exceptions. Sci-fi is almost non-existent in Bengali films. Yes, budget is, of course, one of the most important factors. Even though we did not have to create a spaceship or an alien world for our film, the recreation of 1980s Calcutta escalated the budget, as we had to use special props and computer graphics.
Time travel films are a blend of reality and fantasy. How did you handle this in Abby Sen?
The interplay of reality and fantasy is a concept I love and I have tried that in my earlier films, Takhan Teish and Rupkatha Noy. It takes a bigger form in this film as time travel is rooted in fantasy. I have worked with a simple principle. My objective was to treat fantasy with realistic connotations, so that when people watch the film, they forget that it is not real.
Tell us about your favourite time travel films.
The Time Machine, Back to the Future, Deja Vu, Midnight in Paris and The Butterfly Effect.
Tell us about a recent Bengali film, which has impressed you.
I liked a number of films such as Chatushkon, Ebar Shabar, Open Tee Bioscope and Natoker Moto. It’s good that films of different genres are being made today and people are also enjoying them.
Have you decided on the subject of your next film?
It’s a touching story on life, death, hope and rejuvenation.