Filmmakers Indrasis Acharya, Shieladitya Moulik and Arjunn Dutta speak about their Hindi film
The director trio talk about their collaboration for the Hindi anthology, Three Course Meal
The pandemic brought in its wake a prolonged spell of gloom in the world of entertainment, with the film industry taking a battering, especially the regional ones. And the Bengali film industry is among the worst hit with most projects stalled or shelved.
But the stalemate gave rise to opportunities for Bengali filmmakers, both established and new. And young filmmakers Indrasis Acharya, Shieladitya Moulik and Arjunn Dutta definitely deserve a mention when it comes to the new and aspiring makers from Tollywood.
Arjunn’s second film Guldasta released last Puja amidst the pandemic to a warm response, while Indrasis Acharya’s much-acclaimed film Parcel had a theatrical release this March, only to be taken off the theatres within a few days due to the second wave.
Shieladitya Moulik too impressed the viewers with a couple of shorts shot during the pandemic. But the reason we are talking about the three is that they have collaborated for the first time for a Hindi anthology, Three Course Meal, a riveting, dark saga around food produced by Kefi Media and Adverb.
Having an eclectic cast comprising Shweta Basu Prasad, Sushama Deshpande, Joy Sengupta, M.K. Raina and Paoli Dam among others, the film is ready for release sometime early next year. We had a flavourful chat with the director trio about the same over some delectable food at the popular Angie's Washouse and Cafe. Excerpts:
Tell us how Three Course Meal happened?
Indrasis Acharya: I knew Arjunn personally but not Shieladitya and when I was approached for the film what drew me was the fact that it was a combination of food fantasy and darkness. There have been elements of horror and darkness in most of my films but this particular film had raw darkness. I was initially not confident enough whether I could do this but the producers loved my plot and we shot it.
Arjunn Dutta: I am directing one of the stories called Biriyani, which is also one of my favourite dishes. There are multiple layers in this story which revolves around a dawaat or feast around biryani where different people are present with different motives. The best part about my story is that there are no dialogues and only Paoli speaks in the film. Apart from Paoli, there are others including Devlina Kumar, Kan Singh Sodha and MK Raina who plays Paoli’s father-in-law.
Shieladitya Moulik: I got invested in the idea and my story, Baby Food, revolves around a mother, who also nurtures a newborn and is the sole provider of food for the baby during its initial months. My film will explore what happens when we see the darker side of caregivers or mothers. Shweta Basu Prasad is in the lead and it was an amazing experience working with her. Actor Anirban Chakraborty too plays a significant role in this film.
Indrasis: Many people had told me that my camera doesn’t move in my films but in this particular film, Red Velvet, my camera didn’t rest at all. It’s a real-time story taking place at night at a party where something happens. There are 18 characters including Sushama Deshpande, Joy Sengupta, Anubhav Kanjilal, Ananya Sengupta and Debapriya Mukherjee.
Music plays a significant part in all of your films. Is it the same here?
Arjunn: Of course, you will see thumri and ghazal and music has a big place here too.
Shieladitya: In my story, Baby Food I have given a lullaby a very dark twist and it plays a crucial role in the film.
Indrasis: There’s intense background score4 and songs in all my films and this too is not an exception. There’s a lot of fusion jazz and opera too will be heard during a vital moment.
Tell us about your upcoming projects?
Indrasis: A lot of my projects were stalled including a Hindi and a Bengali film. I am trying to make a film that I had planned for years through crowdfunding. I am trying to find newer models of filmmaking like forming a society where people can financially contribute from across the globe to create good films, so that directors don’t have to frantically search for producers. Besides, I will also start shooting for another film called Niharika very soon.
Arjunn: I finished shooting my third film Shrimati and writing another interesting script.
Shieladitya: I finished filming Radio with Priyanka Sarkar and just finished shooting for Cheeney Badam with Yash and Ena Saha and my film Hridpindo with Arpita Chatterjee is awaiting release.
Any actor you want to work with in the future?
Arjunn: Tabu and Jisshu Sengupta
Shieladitya: Tabu and Alia Bhatt
Indrasis: Naseeruddin Shah