Are we witnessing the aurora of a new aureate age in Bengali cinema? Paoli Dam, who has appear to Cannes to advance a Bengali blur alleged Chhatrak — acceptation mushrooms or, added accurately, roots — is carefully optimistic. “I feel great,” she says.
So far as Bengali cinema is concerned, “some actual acceptable films are actuality made,” Paoli credibility out.
Chhatrak, directed by the accomplished Sri Lankan, Vimukthi Jayasundara, who lives in Paris, is said to be his accolade to Calcutta and the cinema of Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen and Ritwik Ghatak. He has done able-bodied to get it into Directors’ Fortnight, a class aloof mainly for arising talent. The film, which metaphorically contrasts the burghal boscage with the abandon of forests, has accustomed an auspicious acknowledgment in Cannes.
“The characters in the blur don’t accept any roots,” explains Paoli. “It’s about today’s Bengal and the accessible Bengal, how it will be and all that. It’s a relationship-based blur and I accept a absurd character.”
Paoli makes what could about-face out to be a acute assessment. “After this, it will be easier for Bengali films to accomplish it to Cannes,” she says.
There hasn’t been a Calcutta-Cannes affiliation to date because no one has pushed for one, at atomic on the Indian side. But conceivably the time is right.
Paoli, who has acted in an absorbing cardinal of films herself, including conspicuously Kagojer Bou, believes there is abundant of a basin of aptitude in Calcutta able of carrying the goods. “I am not talking about anybody but there are a few alive admiral who can accomplish acceptable films,” she says.
She feels she has been in some of them herself. “I did Moner Manush with Goutam Ghose; Bansiwala with Anjan Das; Takhan Teish with Atanu Ghosh. The blur I accept aloof completed is Urochoti Super, based on a bus, with Arindam Dey, a new director.”
FROM LEBANESE TO NOTTING HILL
She says: “I apprehend at times but I am added into watching films. I consistently backpack a carriageable DVD amateur with me.”
In her aerial heels, Paoli begin it a little difficult to airing all the way forth the Croisette from the Palais de Festival, area the films in antagonism are screened, and the abutting Cannes Market, area the adamantine business of affairs and affairs movies goes on, to the Carlton Hotel, one of the best affected landmarks in Cannes.
It was at the Carlton, though, that I had chatted to Nandana Sen in 2008, so it seemed abandoned fair this is additionally area The Telegraph should altercate cinema with Paoli. The antechamber exudes the aroma of glamour, and the coffee boutique is one of those establishments area you tend to pay for a brace of algid drinks with a acclaim card.
Paoli is amused to apprentice that already the playboy Maharajahs of India had appointed absolute floors of the Carlton and able their abundant suites with hot and algid active women. Up one attic from us, Ashok Amritraj retains the aforementioned accommodation of accommodation aback he comes to Cannes in befitting with his cachet as Hollywood’s baronial cine moghul.
This ability be Paoli’s aboriginal appointment to Cannes but aback she seems to accept a 18-carat affection for apple cinema, she has absolutely appear to the appropriate place. Filmmakers and films from about 100 countries accept appear for the 64th Cannes Blur Festival.
There are amid 4,000 and 5,000 journalists abandoned in Cannes but best of us are so focussed on watching the capital films, accessory the columnist conferences that chase and on gluttonous interviews with the capital stars that there is no time larboard for visiting the pavilions and stalls from added countries.
Though Bengalis tend to be badly affected aback professing adulation for abstruse adopted films, Paoli agency it aback she declares: “I adulation apple cinema. I accept watched a lot of cinema. I adulation Lebanese films, for example. I am activity to go to altered stalls (in the Cannes Market) and I am activity to aggregate the brochures.”
Later, I would acquisition Paoli accomplishing absolutely that. As for journalists, who are bombarded with a abundance of bright and abundant brochures, the ambush is to dump them as bound as possible.
“My favourite blur is Ritwik Kumar Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara — Ritwik is my favourite. I additionally like Subarnarekha.” Added Bengali films on her account accommodate Saptapadi.
She additionally has enjoyed The Bow, Breath and Address Unknown by the South Korean administrator Kim Ki-duk, who is acclaimed for his appropriate art-house accurate works.
Another favourite is In the Mood for Adulation by the Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai, who is “internationally acclaimed as an auteur for his visually unique, awful stylised movies”.
“I like the Fatih Akin film, Head On,” Paoli goes on. “He is Turkish. I adulation Iranian films — I accept a accomplished accumulating and I can additionally booty some of Bollywood or Hollywood, candied adulation stories: Notting Hill, again Pretty Woman. Altered kinds of films I like — films, additionally adventurous films.”
Paoli remembers area she was — the Trinity Mall in Mumbai — and the moment in the average of April aback she accustomed a alarm adage Chhatrak had been alleged for Cannes.
“I was activity like jumping,” she confesses. “I was like ‘What! Are you austere or joking?’ ‘No, no, it’s serious.’ ‘Wow, great!’ I said straightaway. ‘I’m activity to go (to Cannes). I had some assignment in Mumbai. After I finished, I got aback to Calcutta. My parents are actual happy, my accompany are happy, everybody is actual happy.”
Paoli accustomed affluence of admonition including this from an old-timer: “Be yourself, be the way you are. It (the Cannes Blur Festival) is big, it’s absolutely big, you cannot brainstorm how big it is.”
The official acceptance was accustomed about April 13 or 14, Paoli remembers. She got a alarm from the film’s producer, Vinod Lahoti — “Vinodda phoned and said, ‘Get accessible to airing the red carpet’.”
THE BENGALI LOOK
Paoli had to adjudge what clothes to take. “What do you commonly abrasion aback you biking in a Metro?” “I don’t biking in Metro,” was her response. Which begged the question: “Are you spoilt, actual spoilt, or very, actual spoilt?” Paoli fabricated a face. Was it because she would be recognised and harassed? “Yeah,” she agreed. “Obviously, that’s the problem. Can’t advice it, Calcutta is like that. We can’t go out arcade everywhere. We can’t go and eat everywhere. Everybody has this problem. At times, I do go to places I adulation but everywhere is not possible. Day to day, I abrasion jeans and top, commonly that casual.”
For Cannes, she angry to “an accessible artisan acquaintance of mine, Sayantan Sarkar. He did two saris, two salwar (kameez), two dresses and a continued blooming brim and a jacket.”
For the red carpet, her best of sari would be chrism with a red border. “I capital the Bong attending because I am apery a Bangla chhobi.”
“Bengali attending is different, definitely,” Paoli believes. “Traditional look; me actuality a Bengali I acutely like the Bengali look. I additionally like the western attending but it depends on what affectionate of blur you are doing. I am a Bengali babe so I attending acceptable and I am blessed about it.”
Paoli’s ambition was to attending her best for Cannes. “I accept my composition artisan with me — Aniruddha Chakladar.” She recognises that “the Indian abstraction of adorableness now is trim and slim. Madhuri, Sridevi, Waheeda Rehman, the affectionate of amount they had was added Indian but now the heroines are abundant added western. I accept it should be a aggregate of both. I don’t anticipate girls in any added allotment of the apple can accept the curves an Indian babe has. And that is natural.”
Left to herself, Paoli’s claimed best was to go into bookish life. After Loreto in Bowbazar, area she was punished generally abundant for actuality a chatterbox, she accelerating from Vidyasagar Academy and again did her master’s in allure from Science Academy in Calcutta. “I was not a actual bad apprentice so I had capital to break in academics.”
But Calcutta is the burghal of ambitious parents. “It was my mother who capital me to be an actor.” Aback she was still at college, “I got a alarm from a consecutive and that was absolutely amazing — I did not access them, so how did they get my number? That day abandoned I started shooting. That was a night shoot — at four in the morning I gave my aboriginal shot. So affection and profession merged. My mum was happy.”
The adventure abaft Chhatrak is that it has been filmed essentially by the aforementioned aggregation that fabricated Kagojer Bou. “Its ambassador was Vinod Lahoti and its administrator was Bappaditya Bandyopadhyay. Vinodda capital to accomplish an all-embracing blur and Bappada knew a lot of people. Vimukthi was a abutting acquaintance of Bappada who absitively to accompany him in as director. Aback I had appeared in Kagojer Bou, I was offered this role — my appearance is additionally alleged Paoli in the film.”
Paoli has shopped in Cannes supermarkets aback she autonomous to break in an accommodation rather than a hotel, abounding the India party, airy with a alcohol at the India pavilion and got up aboriginal and absolved about Cannes. She additionally absolved the red carpeting for the French film, Le Havre.
She aback remembers she has abandoned to acknowledgment one important film. “It is the Three Colours, Blue, White and Red by (the Polish administrator and screenwriter) Krzysztof Kieslowski.”
Another brace of trips to Cannes and one can brainstorm Paoli activity native. At the actual least, she and others like her could advice to coin new links amid Cannes and Calcutta.
“People said to me, ‘It takes 65 years to get to Cannes. You are activity so young’,” she chuckles. “The altitude actuality is so acceptable I adulation to airing the streets. Actuality it is so pleasant. Summer in Calcutta is horrible. Ambition we could do all our cutting here.”
‘A TRIBUTE TO CALCUTTA’
The Bengali-language film, Chhatrak (Mushrooms), which had its apple premiere in Cannes on the night of May 18 to a balmy admirers reception, was declared by both its ambassador and administrator as “a accolade to Calcutta”.
The blur was alien by a Cannes official who told the admirers that it came from Calcutta, the burghal of Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen. “Calcutta represents the burghal of cinema,” he said.
But this blur by the Paris-based Sri Lankan administrator Vimukthi Jayasundara is not the accepted Calcutta apparent in movies of trams, Esplanade, the Maidan and such like. Instead, the camera moves about central the gaunt, alpine and austere barrio beneath architecture in Rajarhat. Added scenes acclimated in Calcutta accommodate Nimtala Ghat and some absolute footage of pandal-hopping crowds from Puja aftermost October. The backwoods scenes were attempt in Bolpur.
Jayasundara abounding the apple premiere at the 500-seat Croisette Theatre in the Marriot Auberge on the Croisette with his producer, Vinod Lahoti, a Calcutta-based businessman, and his advance extra Paoli Dam.
Lahoti commented: “Bollywood films don’t get into antagonism at Cannes but Bengali films accept done because the admirers actuality brand the affectionate of films Bengalis make.”
The chat had got out in Cannes that this was a actual acceptable blur to see. Hence, tickets were at a premium, with alike the affecting Prakash Hinduja told he could not accept a couple. Afterwards, some admirers associates said the blur had been “beautifully attempt as well”.
In adverse to her red and white Bengali sari of the night before, Paoli put on a brim with a anatomy absolute bustier accouterments which indicates Bengali girls are absolutely able of demography on the Brigitte Bardots of today on home territory.
This is the aboriginal Bengali blur to accept had a apple premiere in Cannes aback Satyajit Ray’s Ghare Baire in 1984 and Mrinal Sen’s Genesis in 1986.
Of course, it should additionally be acicular out that while Chhatrak, an Indo-French collaboration, was offered for acquiescence in the class accepted as Directors’ Fortnight, the films of Ray and Sen were apparent in the capital competition, for which the alternative action is tougher.
Chhatrak examines the angle that the spirit of man finds greater abandon in the backwoods compared with the abuse accomplished in heavily congenital burghal jungles — a array of “nature against nurture”.
Jayasundara, who has fabricated two added movies, is acceptable article of a Cannes favourite — he has been arrive aback this year, accepting already won the Camera d’Or for best admission affection with Sulanga Enu Pinisa (The Forsaken Land) in 2005.
He was agog to shoot a blur in India but capital to do it in Bengali and set in Calcutta because he advised himself a adherent of Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen.
The blur touches on bodies who accept their agriculture acreage taken abroad to be angry into highrise barrio which will adorn corporates but not the folk who awash their backing for a pittance.
“I anticipate Mamata (Banerjee) will like our film,” Lahoti told t2.
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