S hirshendu Mukhopadhyay, the father of the Bengali fictional characters was born on 2 November 1935. From a school teacher to an associate of Desh Patrika (a Bengali magazine), his journey still continues. His account ranges from comics, romance to thrillers and so many more even fusions.
His versatility of literary works dedicating children to adults and aged with an outstanding style of expression made him one of the rulers of the best sellers list over years. He was awarded the Vidyasagar Award (1985) for his immense contributions towards children’s literature, the Sahitya Akademi Award (1988) for his novel Maanab Jamin, the Banga Bibhushan Award (2012) and so on. His first contribution towards the children’s literature was Manojder Adbhut Bari, elaborating about a teenage boy Manoj, and his mysterious family. Some of his other works include Goshaibaganer Bhoot, Chhayamoy, Bonny, Phulchor, Durbin, Ghoonpoka, Parthibo, Maanab Jami among others. He’s known to be the creator of the new, fresh faces in Bengali fiction like Fatik, Barodachoron and Shabar Dasgupta, the detective of Laalbazar. He talks about his journey in a free-wheeling chat at Starmark, South City Mall. Excerpts…
Q) Sir, whom do you like to set your target audience as children or elders?
It becomes easier for me to set adults or aged my target audience since I find them contemporary to me. But I enjoy writing for children, since it takes me back to my childhood days reviving my inner child.
Q) How do you feel while writing, now that you have so many stories of your own?
Honestly, I don’t find any interest in writing anything now! So many stories I have written, as you have mentioned just now, that even the thought of writing something new makes me feverish, but when I do, I simply delve into it and do it heartily.
Q) There are so many films that have been made based on your stories,how do you feel about that?
See literature and films are two complete different poles and mediums — one is subjective another is objective. Thus there’s really nothing much to feel.
Q) What if you were asked to talk about some of those films?
It’s indeed a very wrong concept, trying to relate the original story to the film or even vice versa. In that case you can’t enjoy either of the two! And moreover in films you can’t expect to see the entire story depicted. They are edited and comprehended. These days you’ll notice only ‘based on a story’ is mentioned without the author or the story’s name.
Q) Do you watch the films based on your story?
No, not at all. Actually there’s nothing new for me to watch. Stories are mine, so I know what it is about, even better the way it has been produced. And as I have mentioned earlier that the stories undergo many procedures before its final makeover of a film, I have set the producers free to choose, edit and frame plots according to their will since it’s impossible to depict every minute details of the story on screen within a short stipulated time.
Q) To you, what is the difference between film and literature?
Films can never give you the essence in 2D whereas a book can take you to an imaginary multi-dimensional world. You will obviously not get the fulfillers of Pather Panchali in the film the way you would have got in the book, so it’s advisable not to. It’s not that I don’t watch films at all, I do rarely; I generally don’t watch or you might say, I don’t get the time for it!
Q) You have been writing so many stories and literary works over so many years, do you think any change has appeared in your writing?
Obviously, I do believe that some changes have taken up, and to me that’s normal. Time, situation, and environment around me have changed and are changing, which indeed has influenced me and my style of writing to much an extent. Also my experiences over worldly affairs have enhanced! But then whether the change is for good or bad, my readers would better know it! With age our perspectives changes, outlook changes, so has happened to me as well. Previously, I used to write in a way that I don’t now.
Q) What is your favourite genre to write stories in?
There is a vast variety of genres and spices in our life and in the world. And writing is something spontaneous. I don’t really stick to one genre-you must have observed while reading, I write science fictions, horror, romantic comedy, children and even fusions of two or more genres. There’s a craziness infused.
Q) When did you decide that you will be taking up writing as a profession?
Reading and writing was somewhat simultaneous, now time crisis is the main concern. But I took up writing seriously when I was of twenty two or three. Work pressure, writings and being engaged in so many things at a time no longer gives me allowance to spend time and nurture my love for books. My house presently is overloaded with books, read and unread, even some unopened!
Q) Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, the name at once points at ‘The Father of Bengali Fictional Characters’. Do you plan for create those characters one or it just comes up?
No, whenever I write, I get detached from the conscious worldly affairs. Thus what I write, I can’t assess. After reading the reviews of my beloved readers, they are the only judges of mine. I simply write…and I am none to judge. I don’t plan anything prior…. whatever comes …it just comes.