Debut filmmaker Srijato and actor Parambrata Chattopadhyay get chatty about Manobjomin
Centered around the setting up of a school for the underprivileged and backward girls from the fringes of Bengal, this film delves deep into a few human emotions
Modern poet Srijato Bandyopadhyay is known for underscoring human emotions, be it his lucid and striking poetry or novels. And now the renowned young Bengali poet is all set to make a mark as a filmmaker with his debut film, Manobjomin. Centered around the setting up of a school for the underprivileged and backward girls from the fringes of Bengal, this film delves deep into a few human emotions through a heart-touching story beautifully played out by actors Parambrata Chattopadhyay, Priyanka Sarkar, and Paran Bandyopadhyay.
We chat with Srijato and Parambrata, who are also very good friends in real life, about the film and what's ailing Tollywood.
What's the idea behind the film Manobjomin?
Srijato: The idea for the film germinated from the glimpses I get through my wife, Durba, who works in the NGO sector with girl children who often marry early in life, thereby discontinuing their education. The story centres around building a children's school but displays a range of human emotions too, right from many a fight to love and joy.
Parambrata, we know you are a choosy actor, so, what drew you to this film?
Parambrata: It's not that I am very picky (laughs), I love working with everybody but try to maintain a quality to match the expectations that audiences have from my films. Sometimes that credibility comes into question and at times it turns out well, but generally, I like taking chances, especially with new people and I don’t have tantrums like a lot of my colleagues. They have so many conditions and tantrums and some of them are quite hard to get through. My Mumbai work is strictly handled by my manager but when it comes to Bengali films, I still handle that directly since I grew as an actor in this industry. It would be a little unprofessional if those who have worked with me for the past 10-15 years, have to reach me through my manager.
When it comes to Manobjomin, Srijato, is my very good friend and one of my favourite poets. I rely on his thought process and when he is trying to tell a story on screen it can’t be that bad, so, no question of saying no to his film. Also, once I read the script, I was so happy to be a part of the story.
How was your experience as a filmmaker?
Srijato: The story is standing on a few very vital emotions and when we were working I ensured that the emotional quotient was used properly. I increasingly find that the Bengali way of living, loving and humour is strangely very much missing from the current content. I simply tried to put forth those very emotions we grew up with as Bengalis and now let’s see how the audience accepts the same.
What were your learning experiences?
Srijato: Oh, there were so many of them. Except for me, all the people on set were experienced and I got to learn so much from each of them. My friend Srijit Mukherji also plays a small role in the film and is inherently connected and emotionally invested in the film. He told me that while filming I might find nothing is going according to the plan but I still have to keep my cool and complete the shoot with the presence of mind on the days when things go topsy turvy. Another friend told me that I have to learn how to scream on floors to control a film unit. It was indeed a very enriching process.
Parambrata, what’s your role like in the film?
Unlike a few of my recent films, here, it’s not a role of a very silently supportive husband or friend. Sanket is a bit too proactive for one’s comfort. Till my late teens, no one could have believed that I would become such a pro-active person who can multitask -- I was introverted and a little laidback. But life turns us into something else altogether. Sanket too is active and constantly keeps working his head. He is ambitious and doesn’t like to wait for things to happen. He is sensitive but very practical and bubbling with energy.
How was it working with Paran Bandyopadhyay?
Parambrata: Paran is one of the Last Mohicans in our industry. I first worked with him in 2003 in Bombaiyer Bombete followed by many a movie together. He is a fun personality who will teach you about so many human prototypes and the way they behave.
Srijato: Here they play uncle and nephew and there’s a lot of love and grievances in their relationship for valid reasons but there’s also a deep bonding too and we show going back to the roots of relations in a beautiful way.
How was Priyanka as a co-star for the first time on the big screen?
Parambrata: She looks very different in this film. I had worked with her many moons back in the TV serial Swapner Rong Neel where she played my niece. I think she is one of the most gifted actors around and has her own method. As an actor, she loves to stay disengaged from the whole process and is incredibly good in the film.
How will 2023 be for you as an actor?
Well, it looks pretty hopeful with a few films releasing back-to-back in the first quarter. Soon after Manobjomin, my film Dr Bakshy will release, which is polar opposite of Manobjomin. There’s also the web series Jehanabad that will start streaming on SonyLIV. In March, there’s Arindam Bhattacharya’s Shibpur, based on the dreaded 90s mafia gang in that area. I play a police inspector and will portray a young self and a retired self too. There’s also Ghore Ferar Gaan and at the end of February or the beginning of March, I will be making a film in the fantasy space.