Tolly filmmakers Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha are back with their upcoming movie, Samsara
When it comes to narrating young, urban middle-class romance and relationships stories without going overboard, no one can match steps with director duo Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha. They’ve given Tollywood one of its biggest stars — Abir Chatterjee, who debuted in their film Cross Connection in 2009. Regardless of the subject, be it about going on a honeymoon before marriage (Cross Connection), voyeurism (Teen Yaari Kotha), or even unrequited love (Jodi Love Dile Na Prane) — all their movies have a fresh and non-preachy approach.
“Our job is to make cinema and the characters in our films are all around us in real life. Rather than trying to give a message through films, we leave the interpretation open to the audience,” remarks Sudeshna Roy. With their upcoming film, Samsara — starring Ritwik Chakraborty, Rahul Banerjee, Indrajit Chakraborty, Sudiptaa Chakraborty among others — they have done the same thing. “It’s a movie about three friends and what unravels when they meet after two decades,” tells Abhijit Guha, the other half of the duo. We sat down with the pair to chat about Samsara, and other future projects. Excerpts:
Fluid stories about the Bengali urban middle class have always been your forte. What’s Samsara all about?
Sudeshna Roy: Samsara is a Sanskrit word, which also has Buddhist connotations. It denotes the cycle of life — birth, death and reincarnation. We all go through a journey from the very moment we are conceived in the womb. In this movie, we are treating life as a whole, but there is a thin layer of mystery that’s palpable.
Abhijit Guha: Like our other movies, it’s not just a film which tells tales of relationships. There’s another very distinct mystery element in it and it deals with aberrations of human nature. What I mean is, there is a miscreant lurking in me too. I might not hurt anyone but I might think of it and imagine it and not get punished for it because it’s in the realms of my thought. So, does that make me less bad as a person? This is not the subject of my film, but I am just alluding to it to explain the relativity of morals.
SR: Yes, you can’t imprison anyone for whatever they think, yet, are we also considering our thoughts? The movie also deals with how we act when we reunite with friends after a really long time. What we say or how much we talk about ourselves is only partially true, we never reveal ourselves completely isn’t it?
AG: And that’s what the film is all about. How some friends meet after 20 years, what they were in the past, how they are in the present, and how they chart their lives going forward. SR: And there’s the entry of a fourth friend played by Samadarshi Dutta. There is also a lot of magic realism, a déja vu kind of a thing and the rest you have to watch to know.
This will be your fourth production with Ritwik Chakraborty, who did his second film with you. How has he changed as an actor over the years?
SR: Ritwik is a splendid actor and when we had cast him in Cross Connection, no one really took notice of him, and he was very good then.
AG: Yes, some people grow or change as they progress. Ritwik has always been a good and innate actor.
So, what’s he playing in Samsara?
AG: He plays a man who’s very vague in life about everything, including his wife.
There’s also Rahul Banerjee here? How’s he?
AG: We are working with Rahul for the first time in films and he is amazing. Rahul has grown as an actor since the time he started in television. He plays a slightly gross man with intense emotions.
You are also doing a web series on young couples?
SR: Yes, this will be our second after Virgin Mojito. This 10-episode series is for Voot. It’s called Shock Ahlad, and is a slice-of-life show about a young couple played by Arjun Chakrabarty and Sauraseni and the reaction of the earlier generation. We have changed the gender equation and the wife is more aggressive here and the husband tries to balance everything. There are also others including Churni Ganguly, Kaushik Sen, Arindam Sil and Lillete Dubey (who is making her Bengali web series debut with this.)
You also did a same-sex web series?
AG: Yeah, Four Play, but it hasn’t released in any platforms so far. It’s an interesting story about two men who want to have children after marriage.
Any new projects on the anvil?
SR: Another movie of ours will release in November. And we are thinking of another film on the rivalry between two men where one is the hero and the other is the villain. But, it turns out that the villain is the real hero. It’s a little complicated story.
Any favourite among the new crop of filmmakers?
AG: I really like Soukaryo Ghosal’s work.
SR: Yes, and I also like Dhruba Banerjee’s work, very neat, informative and entertaining. We also loved watching Indradeep Dasgupta’s Kedara.