"I guess everything is newsworthy today. But I don't want to be in news. I would rather do my work quietly," says National Award-winning filmmaker Tarun Majumdar when we ask him about his 50-year-long journey in the film industry.
Majumdar is one of the few directors in Bengal, who have successfully depicted Bengali culture and sentiments through his films. A majority of his Bengali films, which have been driven by strong social messages and depict middle-class values, has impressed both the classes and masses alike. "I have always been intrigued by human relationships and values. I think the quest of a man is to become a better human being. I think I understand the middle-class milieu better and hence interpreted it in various ways on celluloid," says the director, who has made films on works of famous authors such as Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay, Tarashankar Bandopadhyay, Bimal Kar and Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay.Majumdar's solo journey in the world of films began in 1965, when he directed Basanta Choudhury in Alor Pipasha. Before 1965, his works were credited under Yatrik. Yatrik was the screen name of filmmakers Tarun Majumdar, Dilip Mukhopadhyay and Sachin Mukherjee until they separated in 1963. Even after 50 years, Majumdar still has the same passion for cinema and filmmaking. "It's embarrassing to talk about myself. The audience is the best judge," smiles the 84-year-old filmmaker, who won National Awards for Ganadevata, Nimantran and Aranya Aamar.
A still from Tarun Majumdar's new film, Bhalobashar Baari, starring Rituparna Sengupta.
Known for introducing a number of fresh faces in the Bengali film industry, it's a little difficult to believe when the senior filmmaker says that he gets irritated when he watches his own films and finds grave errors in them. "There are some films, which I think have defects. I feel irritated that I made those mistakes," says Majumdar, who introduced Moushumi Chatterjee in Balika Badhu, Tapas Pal in Dadar Kirti and Uttam Kumar's grandson Gaurav in Bhalobashar Anek Naam.
It's after eight years that Majumdar has started shooting for a Bengali film, this time Bhalobashar Baari, with Rituparna Sengupta in the lead. His last film, Chander Bari in 2007, also had Sengupta. So what took him so long to direct another film? "I can't concentrate on too many projects at a time. After doing a film, I got busy with a mammoth television series, Durgeshnandini (based on Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay's novel). It required a lot of research and I dedicated a lot of time to it. We shot in various locations such as Karnataka, Hyderabad, Banaras and West Bengal. It was only after completing Durgeshnandini that I could start work on Bhalobashar Baari, which again will focus on the plight of a lower middle-class family," he signs off.