Aniket Chattopadhyay has a dark sense of humour, which often gets reflected in his films. Almost all his films - Chha-e Chhuti, Bye Bye Bangkok, Goraay Gondogol and Mahapurush O Kapurush - have been satires with adequate dosage of drama. So, it came as quite a surprise when Chattopadhyay decided to make Room N0 103, a thriller starring Jisshu Sengupta. That certainly is quite a shift for Chattopadhay.
Was it a conscious decision on Chattopadhyay's part to come out of his comfort zone and make something different? "If you take a closer look at my debut film Chha-e Chhuti, you will see that 60% of the film was a thriller. The film had actors like Kharaj (Mukherjee) and Rudranil (Ghosh) who added the required comic element to the story but the film was treated like a thriller. After the film was declared a hit, I was asked to make two more comedies, which were Bye Bye Bangkok and Goraay Gondogol. As directors, our fundamental responsibility is to tell a story on the celluloid properly. Audiences come to the theatres to watch a good story, which can an action film or even a social drama. All you need is a strong storyline," says the filmmaker, who is a die-hard fan of Alfred Hitchcock's films, especially Psycho.Interestingly, Room No 103, which releases on May 15, was supposed to be Chattopadhyay's debut film, had the producer of the film agreed to finance it in 2009. Chattopadhyay fondly recalls that when producer Kaustav Roy asked him to write a script in 2009 and he came up with Room No 103. "Kaustav felt it wasn't the right time to produce a thriller and he suggested I write a light-hearted film. I wrote Chha-e Chhuti, which had both elements of comedy and thriller," smiles Chattopadhyay, who has already finished writing two more thrillers.
A still from Room No 103 starring Jisshu Sengupta.
His upcoming thriller is a culmination of four stories. All the stories take place inside a hotel room. Soumitra Chatterjee, who plays the hotel manager, is the narrator of the stories. "Two of the stories have psychological elements. Something eerie happens with the guests who put up in room number 103. It's a dark thriller," says the director, who is busy with the pre-production of his next political film, Shankar Mudi.
However, Chattopadhayay's last release, Janla Diye Bou Palalo, which too was a satire, didn't fare well at the box office. "First, the content needs be appealing enough. Then, these days a lot depends on how the film is being promoted. If the film doesn't have any visibility prior to its release, how will the audience know about its date of release? The producers were new and had no experience of the market. Lastly, the title of the film was rural while the subject was very urban. So, the audience were a bit confused," asserts Chattopadhyay about the failure of his last film.
His top three pick:
1. Prawaal Raman's Darna Mana Hai (2003)
2. Raja Nawathe Gumnaam (1965)
3. Tarun Majumdar Bengali film Kuheli (1971)