How many times a week does one come across newspaper articles giving you tips on weight loss? The internet, too, contains an inexhaustible list of fast and safe weight loss techniques. Everyone around us is obsessed with weight and is constantly on the lookout for ways to remain in shape.
Scriptwriter-turned director Debaloy Bhattacharya's new Bengali film, Roga Howar Sohoj Upay, revolves around this subject of weight obsession. On a rainy afternoon, as Bhattacharya gets talking about his film at an office in Kolkata, the width of the waist does disturb this writer too. The director has a hearty laugh when he hears this and says, "In a way, this is a personal film. I dedicate this film to my wife, sister-in-laws, aunties and other friends who are curvaceous and slightly on the heavier side. I think the body type of Indian women is different and they look best in their curves. Weight gain has turned into an obsession. I am not talking about obesity. I am trying to address the issue of obsession and how we suffer from guilt whenever we eat something."
Bhattacharya has earlier written scripts for Bengali films such as Golpo Holeo Sotyi and Obhishopto Nighty, both directed by his good friend-filmmaker Birsa Dasgupta. Unlike Obhishopto Nighty, which was a satire, Bhattacharya says that Roga Howar Sohoj Upay, starring Raima Sen, Riya Sen and Parambrata Chatterjee, isn't one. "In Obhishopto Nighty, I was trying to make a point. But in this film, I am not trying to do so. Yes, there's a sense of mockery on how slimming centres are mushrooming everywhere in the city with a promises to reduce weight within hours. But at the end of the day it's a love story with a comic element in it. Comedy comes naturally to me. Then the plot turns into a suspense thriller," he says. Bhattacharya, who calls himself a lazy soul, says weight obsession is the most common idea. "From morning till night, where you go, either you are asked about your weight gain or loss. It's a common discussion at every party and social gathering," says the debutant director, who has also written Dasgupta's next Bengali film, starring Dev. "Birsa and I are like family. So I will continue to write stories for him," he says.
Interestingly, in the film, Raima is obsessed with her weight and after a while suddenly changes into a slim woman, played by Riya. "It's kind of a role reversal. Raima had to put on eight kilos to look the part and she loves eating. We brainstormed a lot over the casting and since Raima and Riya are both sisters, we thought it would be easier for the audience to accept the role reversal," he explains.
Often directors in the Bengali film industry, who make potboilers, complain about the lack of scriptwriters. Being a scriptwriter, Bhattacharya vehemently reacts to the statement. "You need to invest in the content of a film. As a director, it's easier to sustain in the film industry. But can I sustain as a scriptwriter of a film? I guess not. So, a lot of scriptwriters work for the television industry too. I have worked in television for two years and if need be, I will go back to the small screen," he signs off.