Filmmaker Soukarya Ghosal's film Bhoot Pori has a unique mix of horror & innocence

The film, centering around a female ghost's life, has Jaya Ahsan in the lead
Soukarya Ghosal
Soukarya Ghosal

Known for his magic realism and fantasy films like Rainbow Jelly and Pendulum, filmmaker Soukarya Ghosal couldn't be happier. His much-awaited horror-supernatural film, Bhootpori starring Jaya Ahsan in the lead, is finally seeing the light of the day. The film that was released in theatres today, is about a ghost, played by Jaya, and how she solves certain crises in her afterlife with the help of a human child.

We talk with Soukarya regarding the same and more.

Tell us a little about Bhootpori?

Bhootpori is my first brush with the horror and supernatural genre. The main thought behind making it was to try and tell a ghost story in Bengali. Usually, ghost stories always signify black magic, or voodoo, but there can be fun sides to ghosts too. The concept of ghosts can be similar to a superman or woman because ghosts too can achieve such feats which are beyond the means of mere mortals.

<em>Jaya Ahsan</em>
Jaya Ahsan

If we go back as far as authors like Trailakyanath or look into the references in Lila Majumdar, Satyajit Ray, Shirshendu Mukherjee or Bibhutibhushan’s stories, right from the folklores to Bengali literature, the quintessential Bengali ghost is not an intimidating creature, and is at times equally helpless like a human. This quality sets the Bengali ghosts apart from the rest of its kind. I wanted to tell the story of such a ghost. Also, it’s a female ghost’s story which shows her crises. She becomes friends with a human child who helps her navigate through her crises.  

Fantasy always attracts and excites me a lot, but telling a ghost story is something else altogether. I feel the horror genre hasn’t been explored much in Bengali -- there are so many potential subgenres that can be turned into interesting films.

I have tried to blend in the innocence of fantasy and magic realism into a horror film.

<em>Jaya Ahsan</em>
Jaya Ahsan

How was it directing Jaya Ahsan?

I directed her first in Bhootpori and later did two more films with her including OCD and Kalantor. While working with her I found out she is a completely down-to-earth person. When she is on floors Jaya gets one with the character and lives it. She is very diligent and brave as an artist, who doesn’t mind going through hardships for the sake of the role she is portraying.

Your future projects?

My next film, Pokhirajer Dim, which I completed shooting last December is under post-production. It is a science fantasy that’s close to my heart and takes off from where Rainbow Jelly ends, showing what happens to Ghoton and Poppins.

Any plans for the web?

I have a few plans and I am trying to develop content for the web which I think would fructify sometime this year.

Bhootpori is running in theatres now.

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