Fewer films are made for children these days. Of them Satyajit Ray’s Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne, Tapan Sinha’s Safed Hathi and Sabuj Dweeper Raja and Raja Sen’s Damu are worth remembering. Actor-singer-lyricistdirector- writer Tapan Dutta attempted to fill the lacuna of this genre by making Maya Jaaler Khela (A game of illusions).
The film was shot in 15 days. The cast includes Soumitra Chatterjee, Indrani Halder, Abhishek Chatterjee, Piya Sengupta, Sajal Bhattacharya and Debashree Bhattacharya among others. Based on the story idea and screenplay of Uttam Kumar Ghosh, Maya Jaaler Khela promises thriller and suspense aimed at children. The screenplay focuses on a middleaged couple from Kolkata. Tiyasha and Omio with their children Rivu and Barsha arrive at their old country house for a fortnight. In the process they come in touch with Abani, a fickle minded distant relative, a young and poor couple Sandhya and Niloy with their eight year old abnormal son Arka, a divorcee woman Inika with her 10 year old daughter Arushi coupled with servants and security.
After watching a magic show there, the children become so enthused that they started believing in the presence of ghosts in the garden of the country house. They witnessed one or the other supernatural occurring every day. The misunderstandings reach an exciting climax with full of surprise elements in the end. Chatterjee plays the role of a tantrik practising black magic. Maya Jaaler Khela is expected to be screened at the Delhi and Goa International film festivals. This is Dutta’s fourth venture as a film maker.
He started his career as a theatre actor. Working in many serials as a minor actor, he did cameo roles in many Bengali feature films. In 2011, Dutta started his own production house. The first film he directed was BhorerPakhi. His second Bengali feature film was based on his own story named Binodoner dui Addahay which incorporated two separate stories in one film. Dutta also made two short films namely Pratibader Joy (2012) and Sunday Surprise (2014).
After much struggle for finding a producer of his films, Dutta and his wife Aparna now runs their own production house by taking loans at minimal interest. “Since few films are being made keeping children in mind as the audience, I thought of taking the initiative to produce and direct Maya Jaaler Khelawith an aim to bring both children and adults back to the cinema halls of Kolkata,” said Dutta.
He plans to release the film on 25 December as a part of the Christmas celebrations to draw more audience in the festive season.