Kaushik Ganguly and Ujaan Ganguly talk about their film Lokkhi Chhele which releases today

This is the first time that Ujaan is working with his National Award-winning filmmaker dad

Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  25th August 2022 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  25th August 2022 12:00 AM

Kaushik Ganguly and Ujaan during Lokkhi Chhele shoot

Among the many movies which had delayed theatrical releases due to the pandemic, Lokhhi Chhele perhaps created the most unique buzz for the unusual poster displaying actor Ujaan Ganguly holding a baby with multiple limbs. The film directed by multiple National Award-winning filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly addresses the entrenched superstitions in our society among other things.

Also, it's his first film that stars his son Ujaan Ganguly in it. For Ujaan, who debuted in 2018 with Rosogolla produced by director duo Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee, this will be his second film. We had a hearty chat with the father-son duo about the film that deals with issues that never lose their relevance.

kaushik ganguly
Kaushik Ganguly

This will be your second outing on the big screen, after a gap of 4 years. How are you feeling?

I would call it my second debut in a few ways. I started off with Rosogolla in 2018 and then shot for this film in August 2019. When I started filming for Lokkhi Chhele, I was initially a bit apprehensive about what the equation would be like with my parents since we never worked in a professional capacity before. But once the shooting started I immediately realized that we didn’t really need to communicate a lot to get across each other’s points. It was like a family coming together and doing what they love the most.

kaushik ganguly
Kaushik Ganguly with son Ujaan

What really attracted you to the film?

This film is about three students, played by me, Purab Seal Acharya and Ritwika Pal. Hearing my father read out the script is an experience in itself since it’s a full-blown performance. So, when we had the script-reading session it gave us an insight into the world of a rural Bengal that many of us haven’t experienced in its rawest form. It’s a thrilling adventure film that has a strong social message regarding superstition.

Kaushik, did you always have Ujaan in your mind when you developed the story?

Yes, it was Ujaan from the very first day. After the success of Ujaan’s debut film, when Windows approached me to make a film with him, I thought of giving the story its final shape. I had thought of the plot when the young doctors in state hospitals went on a full-blown strike a few years ago. I always want to make a movie that will leave a mark in the history of Indian cinema and cannot be ignored with the passage of time.

Tell us about the movie a bit?

The film is about three medical students who while returning from a wedding in a village in Purulia get stuck when their car suffers a breakdown. They stumble upon an ongoing village carnival where there’s a newborn with multiple limbs. The story centres around the baby and the students and addresses a very deep social responsibility.

Kaushik Ganguly with son Ujaan
Ujaan in Lokkhi Chhele

How was it directing Ujaan for the first time?

When I first time saw Ujaan act in Rosogolla, I could see his efforts as an actor and almost two years later, when I directed him, I realised he had matured vastly as an actor than what he was in his debut film. I think he invested a lot of time to develop as an actor. And now, when I see him, I feel he is even more mature as an actor and I will definitely direct him again in the future if I am asked to.

And what would be your answer to the ones who will see nepotism in it?

Ujaan was 21 years old when I first cast him in this film. I could have done so much earlier instead of waiting this long. I could have used him Nagar Kirtan or Kishore Kumar Junior instead of his friends (actors Riddhi Sen and Rwitobroto Mukherjee respectively). But I didn’t and I guess that answers your question.

How is your bond with Ujaan?

I always was scared of my father, Sunil Ganguly, a revered Hawaiian guitarist. When I became a father, I had only one thing in my mind --- I wanted to be a friend to my son. I think we are like inseparable twins who can discuss stories and everything under the sky from dusk to dawn.

How do you bond as a family?

We don't discuss cinema at all except for a dedicated time for the same. We keep the film industry strictly outside the boundaries of our home and that’s how we have preferred it for the past 30 years of our marriage. That also, to a great extent, has helped keep our happiness intact.

Ujaan, how was it working with your dad for the first time?

It was an enriching experience. As I said, since we know each other’s expectations as artistes well enough, it made things easier. At the same time, my father reposed a lot of faith in my ability and gave me the agency to do something on my own and that helped me emote well. Also, it’s my first movie with my mother as a co-actor and what I said about my father, applies to her as well.

Kaushik, we saw your debut as an actor on the OTT platform. Do we see you directing a web series soon?

Yes, I do have plans to do a series but I won’t create content for the pure purpose of earning. I would like to do something that will be really worth watching.

Your upcoming projects?

The upcoming films include Ardhangini starring Kaushik Sen, Churni Ganguly and Jaya Ahsan, Kaberi Antardhan starring Prosenjit Chatterjee and Srabanti Chatterjee, Kabaddi Kabaddi, Hindi movie Manohar Pandey. There’s also Palan, a tribute to iconic filmmaker Mrinal Sen. I have taken the characters from his film Kharij placing them 40 years ahead in current times.