Director Tamal Sen creates a soulful impact with his first Bengali short, Dui Shalik
A computer science engineer, Tamal Sen quickly realised at the onset of his corporate career, that all he wants to do is tell stories on screen. Hence this 38-year-old filmmaker with no filmi connection whatsoever got himself enrolled for a course in direction and screenplay writing at the elite Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute to learn the ropes of the trade.
Working in Mumbai for the past nine years now, Sen's first feature screenplay The Gift was selected by the NFDC Screenwriter's Lab, allowing him to slowly transition in the world of fiction. Now, his first Bengali short film, Dui Shalik, that released recently on YouTube, is gathering steam in the social media platforms and earning appreciation from the audience and critics alike for its subtle and sophisticated portrayal of loneliness and middle-age love.
We had a short chat with Sen on the same and more. Excerpts:
How did Dui Shalik happen?
The original story written by Ambarish Majumdar had it set in the daily passenger bus. He and his partners at Ice Media Lab took me on board from the film's scripting stage. We took it up as a mental challenge, that, could we tell the story of two middle-aged lonely souls, who fall for each other, without having a single conversation? We wanted to show that love has no age bar. Once we agreed on this, everything else started naturally falling into place.
The reactions have been great...
Yeah, they have been overwhelmingly positive. People have messaged us asking for a sequel, leaving glowing reviews. I feel the relatable characters, the mundane setting of daily life and the heartwarming nature of the story is what people are connecting with.
You got two talented actors Rajatava and Ananya. How was the experience?
It's one thing to write characters on paper, but it's a different thing altogether to bring them to life the way only they could have done. We wanted to have a very unconventional pairing and showcase Rajatava and Ananya in a different avatar and it really paid off.
How well are shorts doing nowadays?
Short films are mostly a labour of love - they do not have marketing machinery that would take them to a wider audience like a full-length feature. But with social media, the content can speak for itself. We have experienced with Dui Shalik that if people connect with your story, they will share it and bring in more audience organically.
Tell us about your web projects?
I wrote the first season of the Zee5 hit Kaali and have also co-written a brand new Hindi series for Netflix called Mai (Mother), that's a story of a middle-aged wife and mother, Sheel who finds herself sucked into a rabbit hole of violence and power, following a personal tragedy. The series is penned by creator Atul Mongia along with Amita Vyas and me, with Sudip Sharma as a creative producer. It will be ready soon. Also, currently, I am co-writing another series and working on a couple of ideas.
Any particular Tolly actor you want to direct?
One regret I have is that after almost getting a chance to work with Soumitra Chatterjee, it, unfortunately, got cancelled at the last moment and with his demise now, that prospect is lost forever.