Sanjoy Nag is back with Parapar and shoma a chatterji gets him talking
AFTER his directorial debut with Memories in March, Sanjoy Nag returns to what he does best with Parapar, based on a story by Moti Nandi, one of the most outstanding creative writers in contemporary Bengali literature. He opens up in an interview.
l What pulled you to a Moti Nandi story considering his works are not very popular among Bengali filmmakers?
Sadly, people hardly remember him beyond his writings on sports. I thought his other works, including a brilliant ensemble of short stories, are outstanding and could serve as fodder for the bankrupt film fraternity constantly in search of exciting film possibilities. The complex and magnificent play of human relationships is what drew me to the novel, which I felt could be adapted in today’s time as well.
l You have rounded up an impressive star cast that introduces Bangladeshi actor Rubel in a major role. What made you decide on the casting?
I majorly went with instinct as far as casting was concerned. Actors whom I felt would do justice to the characters were approached and I am glad they all readily accepted what was offered. I have had the privilege of working with Ahmed Rubel in a theatre project in the past and he fitted the character perfectly and hence he is a part of the project. Rituparna Sengupta, Paoli Dam and Bratya Basu deserve special mention.
l What made you change the original title of the literary story for the film?
Parapar, to me, is the crossing of individuals at various layers and spaces, some of which are defined and conventional, while others exist in the form of loneliness as an unavoidable condition of our humanity. But they all confront the ultimate experiences of life: change, upheaval, tragedy, joy, the passage of time, and death. How these people undertake that journey, crossing over to the other side but finding it that much more difficult with every step, is what the film is all about. Therefore the change in the name.
l What liberties have you taken with the original story?
Considering that I am adapting the novel after almost 18 years since it was first published, I have made certain changes in the script to make it more contemporary and, at the same time, trying to seamlessly integrate it with the original story.
l You have worked with Rituparno Ghosh as director and also as actor. How did you come out of his shadow?
The best thing about working with Ritu was that he took great pains to see that he was not overshadowing anyone who deserved their own creative space. So I don’t see any perceivable difference on that front particularly. I was a reluctant actor and was kind of pushed into acting in his films. My acting in Chitrangada was more of a barter against his in Memories in March. Though I have to confess that playing Rabindranath Tagore in Jeevan Smriti: Selected Memories was a great enriching experience that I greatly cherish.
l How would you define yourself as director?
I am very flexible and generally arrive on the sets without any preconceived shot division. I have some notions about how I visualise the scene and then discuss and work in tandem with the unit members. I am personally not very convinced by the idea of acting workshops and so avoid them.
l Your film has a definite social agenda. Is this more important to you or is the story, or have you tried to work out a fine balance of the two? Is this possible?
I never looked at them as two separate entities, one pitted against the other. I only tried to tell a story where moments seamlessly form a part of a larger picture.
l Is there a political stance somewhere?
The film concludes with the probing of various verticals of the new-found power structure, more so in the present context where crimes against women are on the rise vis-a -vis the trial by 24X7 media and social networking platforms.