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Atanu Ghosh on his film Mayurakshi winning National Award: I hope more people will see it now

Filmmaker Atanu Ghosh is humbled to have received such an honour and feels that people have connected more with the idea of the a family member falling ill and how it affects everyone else.

bollywood Updated: Apr 21, 2018 18:03 IST
Shreya Mukherjee
Shreya Mukherjee
Hindustan Times
Atanu Ghosh,National Award,Mayurakshi
Filmmaker Atanu Ghosh’s film Mayurakshi won a National Award in the Best Bengali Film category at the 65th National Film Award.

Making the Bengali film Mayurakshi (2017) was a personal journey for director Atanu Ghosh. So, when it won a National Award for the best Bengali film at the 65th National Film Awards, the recognition became all the more special. Actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Prosenjit Chatterjee play the role of father and son in the film, which deals with the dementia - a medical condition where in a person’s memory declines.

Speaking about getting the prestigious award Ghosh says, “It obviously feels good. I never expected the award. The best thing about such awards is that it generates a lot of interest around the film. Those who would have otherwise skipped watching the film might give a second thought [now]. I am hoping many [more people] will watch the film online as well. We make a film for the audience, so the more people enjoy the film, the more our purpose is served as an artist,” says Atanu, who has made films such as Angshumaner Chhobi (2009), Takhan Teish (2010) and Abby Sen (2015) and had worked with Radhika Apte in Rupkatha Noy (2013)

Actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Prosenjit Chatterjee in a still from Mayurakshi.

The film highlights what happens when a person is diagnosed with dementia and how the illness affects him and his family. “When the film was screened in Bangalore, a man walked up to me and said that his wife suffered from the same disease and died five months before the film released. He had no plans of watching the film but then he decided to and felt the film had a healing experience,” says Atanu.

His father, late Satyendra Nath Ghosh, a professor in Applied Physics, suffered from dementia, and the filmmaker remembers how the man who used to open the door to him every day when he returned, soon got confined first to the house, then his room and finally to his bed. “He did not even recognise me one day,” recounts Atanu, adding, “I saw him dipping his ball pen in a glass of water while writing something. When I asked him, he replied that he is dipping his ink pen in the ink pot.”

However, the filmmaker clearly points out that he is no way similar to Prosenjit’s character in the film.

Interestingly, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur, who was in the jury panel of National Award this year, had said that films such as Mayurakshi should be promoted and sent to prestigious festivals like Cannes. Touched by his gesture, Atanu shares, “I am thankful to him for his kind words. It means a lot that the film could connect with people like him… When [director] Girish Kasaravalli watched the film, he told me that it felt as if everything is happening in reality and the characters felt like real people.”

Asked if he plans to send Mayurakshi to international film festivals, he says, “Yes, the first will be New York Indian Film Festival in May. We have received invites from several other National and International festivals as well.”

Interact with Shreya Mukherjee on Twitter/ @Shreya_MJ

First Published: Apr 21, 2018 16:30 IST