Kaushik Ganguly on making Palan
National Award-winning filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly is ready with his pre-festive release, Palan, a tribute to director Mrinal Sen.
With his last film Ardhangini, breaking the jinx at the box office for Bengali films this year, National Award-winning filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly is ready with his pre-festive release, Palan, a tribute to director Mrinal Sen. It’s Sen’s birth centenary, but as Ganguly says, “You wouldn’t find the city celebrating him as much. If the Bengalis are happily settled celebrating Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray only, then that is a bit problematic!” We spoke with the director about Palan that released in theatres today. Excerpts:
Tell us about Palan?
Inspired by Sen’s 1982 film, Kharij, Palan has the lead characters of Sen’s film, Anjan and Mamata Sen (played by Anjan Dutt and Mamata Shankar). They were very young when Kharij was filmed. I just grabbed the opportunity to celebrate Sen and make this film since it made me fall in love with director Sen. And it hit me badly. The film showed a young boy, almost my age, who died by poisoning from carbon monoxide. It had stirred me. Even we had a young house help at that time and I could identify and relate. I could not realise the complexities behind it back then, but now that I have crossed 50, I can understand the characters and have realised that the real sufferers were actually the Sen couple. So, Palan was a spontaneous choice on my part to explore and show the philosophy that Mrinal Sen wanted to convey in that film.
The trailer shows the house with a board saying ‘Bipojjonok Bari’ (dangerous building). How relatable do you think the film would be?
A lot of Kolkata houses have boards, and many don’t. The residents in a vulnerable building are still paying their taxes, they too deserve equal rights and respect. Then why would they need to live in such dilapidated buildings? Years may have gone by but the situations haven’t changed. These problems have been addressed in the film, along with the celebration of the dignity of middle-class people — very similar to what was shown in Kharij.
Will it have resemblances to Kharij?
As per the names go, yes. The actors are Anjan Dutt, Mamata Shankar and Sreela Majumdar, playing their namesakes. People will see Jisshu Sengupta as a grown-up Pupai (Jishu) and Paoli as his wife. These are just little ways to remember the maestro. Those who haven’t seen Kharij will have no problem watching this film; the references have been mentioned in the film. And those who have watched would immediately travel back in time, recalling the scenes from Kharij.
My first Hindi directorial, Manohar Pandey, will release soon and I am working on a few scripts, films and a web show.