The story of the rare Kohinoor diamond, though shrugged with a lot of mystery, has managed to create a rich historical legacy transcending time and space. For the first time, filmmaker Santanu Ghosh has rightly tapped the rich cinematic potential of the story backed by a painstakingly researched screenplay. The idea for the film first came to Ghosh in 2013. Since then, he left no stone unturned in engaging himself with serious, in depth research which took him almost five years. The film titled Kolkatay Kohinoor (Kohinoor in Kolkata) recently launched its poster at the Indian Museum, Kolkata.
The thriller unites actors Soumitra Chatterjee and Sabyasachi Chakraborty, both of whom have rendered roles of the classic Bengali fictional detective Feluda. The film traces some of the hitherto unknown facts about the Kohinoor diamond and, whether it was actually owned by Mughal emperor Babar. It also hints upon the possibilities of the diamond’s presence somewhere in the city of Kolkata. The plot advances through spine-chilling conundrums and clues as to where the stone is placed. The nail biting climax unveils a hidden truth which opens a new door into India’s ancient past. Produced by Angur Bala Films and presented by Anup Pan, Kolkatay Kohinoor has just released. Hailing from a theatrical background, Ghosh joined the film industry as a script-writer and has penned screenplays for a number of telefilms like Aloye Phera, Bibartito and Bish to name a few. Excerpts:
The Kohinoor diamond is known to have handed down from the Mughal generations. What inspired you to make a film on this rare gem?
Much before the arrival of Mughals, the diamond was owned by Kakatiya dynasty. Subsequently, it arrived at Delhi during the rule of Alauddin Khilji. After this it landed on the hands of the first Mughal emperor Babur. The Kohinoor diamond is also known by the name of saimantik moni, an ancient gem, the mention of which can be found in the Puranas. These are few of the many factual details that have been incorporated in the film. I was simply interested in the history and some of the hitherto unknown facts about this precious gem.
You have managed to bring together the two on-screen Feludas. Was it a conscious choice?
None other than Soumitra Chatterjee could have aced the character of Dr Satyaki Bose, an aging detective and historian. As for Benuda (Sabyasachi Chakrborty) it is his baritone voice that enriches his character of a historian and Kohinoor expert.
This is your maiden venture as director.Where do you hope to go from here as a filmmaker?
I believe that the present industry has still a long way to go when it comes to authentic representation of history in films. It requires a lot of thorough research and analyses to perfectly portray our rich historical background which is out there, craving to be discovered. I hope to tread the hitherto unexplored areas of the Eastern history and bring them before the audience through the medium of films.
The Kohinoor has now been claimed by the British and it remains well ensconced on the queen’s crown. So is the title Kolkatay Kohinoor a metaphorical one?
Kolkata and Kohinoor have a strong historical connection. The three major characters that crossed paths with the Kohinoor are from Kolkata. Raja Duleep Singh, youngest son of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his mother Zind Kaur met in Kolkata after 13 years of separation. It is one of the most important events in the Kohinoor’s history in Kolkata. From these facts the title has been derived.
Q Can audiences expect another story in the historical genre?
Yes, I have started working on another project which also attempts to decipher the unsaid wisdom and the ancient history of India through a chain of landmark events.
What is your take on Satyajit Ray’s Feluda and his son Sandip Ray’s version of the same character?
The two Feludas were shot at different times with differing technological availabilities. Sandip Ray’s Feluda catches the imagination of the modern generation with a lot of dynamics and action. Satyajit Ray’s Feluda, on the other hand, is unmatchable when it comes to the reflection of the character’s persona.
What, according to you, is the USP of Kolkatay Kohinoor?
Sure. Considering that Soumitra Chatterjee returns after a sabbatical of 35 years as the detective with Sabyasachi Chakraborty —the audience will get to view two legendary actors sharing the screen. This coupled with the curiosity one possess about the Kohinoor, will draw all who look out for thrill and entertainment in cinema.