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‘Making movie on Byomkesh Bakshi was my childhood dream’

National award winning filmmaker, Dibakar Banerjee is known for his unconventional movies. His latest movie ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshi’ is his attempt to bring alive on big screen his childhood hero and Calcutta of 1943


Filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee, known for his out-of-the-box movies like ‘Love Sex Aur Dhoka’, ‘Shanghai’, is ready with his most ambitious project – ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshi’, starring Sushant Singh Rajput in the title role. A suspense thriller, the film can also be bracketed in the period film category as it is set in 1943 Calcutta.

“For me this is escapist cinema; like a time machine. The audience of 2015 will get transformed to Calcutta of 1943. With this film I have realised my childhood dream”, says the filmmaker whose film is based on one of India’s most loved detectives.

Dibakar, who was attending the Film Bazaar organised by the National Films Development Corporation (NFDC) held on the sidelines of the ongoing film festival, adds, “Through my film ‘Love Sex Aur Dhoka I spoke about today’s youth, ‘Shanghai’ was about a political situation, and this film is about adventure, about a boy venturing into the world of suspense and thrillers.”

Talking about the research that he put into the making of this film, the filmmaker whose movies are always well researched and backed by strong screenplay says. “The Kolkata of 1943 is also a character in the film. I read books from that era, went through photographs, press clippings, spoke to people from that generation, and then distilled the information into my film.”

On the topic of selecting Sushant Singh Rajput to portray the lead role, Dibakar says: “Sushant is standing on the edge of stardom, just like my character Byomkesh, who, in the 1940s, is just starting off as a detective”, further describing the character of Byomkesh as simple, sans overcoats and hats, as is usually portrayed of detectives. “But, he is strong willed just like Sushant”, he adds.

Making movies on detectives is a new favorite with Bollywood. ‘Bobby Jasoos’ featuring Vidya Balan, Anurag Basu’s ‘Jagga Jasoos’ starring Ranbir Kapoor in the lead, which will release in August 2015, are a examples of this genre. However, Dibakar opines that he never followed trends and maintains that this film had been on his mind for many years.

“It is exciting to bring alive the detective genre, which was dormant in India for some time now, alive”, says Dibakar in conclusion.


Recreating Calcutta of 1943

Filmmaker Dibar Banerjee along with movie’s production designer Vandana Kataria, cinematographer Nikos Anditsakis and creative producer Vikas Chandra spoke on the topic, ‘Recreating Cities from Bygone Eras – Kolkata of the ‘40s for ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshi’ during the second-day of the Knowledge Series at Film Bazaar.

“We have not created Kolkata of 1943 but created an illusion of Kolkata of 1943 for the people in 2015”, said Dibakar speaking about the challenges of recreating a bygone era.

“While recreating Kolkata of 1943 I have followed the mood and theme of the film and not necessarily reality”, stated production designer Vandana Kataria, sharing that she started her research around six months ago and went through material from 1940’s Kolkata. “I even spoke to 80- and 90-year-olds in order to get a sense of that time”, she added.

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