‘My Byomkesh is more a Benaras tough’
Having shot extensively in Benaras ghats and narrow alleys to capture the 40s era, the new Byomkesh thriller by Arindam Sil, starring Abir Chatterjee is aimed to be a visually rich film where Abir will essay the role of a tough and not the typical Bengali ‘bhadralok’.
“Having shot in Benaras, one of the ancient places of the world, part of our objective was accomplished as the place retains a certain periodicity which is required in our film ‘Har Har Byomkesh’,” Arindam said.
“But there were odd modern structure jutting in our frame and present day elements like sign boards. We had to eliminate that and infuse a particular beige tone throughout in the film,” Arindam said.
“Instead of sticking to the typical notion of using grey tone for a period film we followed the Hollywood pattern. Say we went by the look of a Martin Scorsese film,” the Abarto director, who is also a seasoned Bengali film actor, said.
“While Satyabati, the wife of the sleuth, is draped in the Brahmo style wearing broach on right arm and fringed blouse as worn by Gyanadanandini Devi, my Byomkesh will not flaunt pleated dhoti (konchano) but dhoti tucked in waist, like a ‘Kanshi tought’ who can chase and pounce on a criminal and board a running train afterwards with ease,” Arindam said.
“My Byomkesh is not the typical Bengali bhadralok type (unlike previous celluloid portrayals), He is a big ‘mastan’ (tough),” he said.
“Abir was initially hesitant as he was cagey about coming out of the previous Byomkesh look, I had arguments with him, we had differences but finally I prevailed. And the transformed look was magical,” he said.
Previously Abir had turned up as the popular fictional sleuth three times in three Byomkesh films, all directed by Anjan Dutt. “Abir has delivered an unbelievable performance in my Byomkesh, very different from his previous avatars as Byomkesh or other sleuths, and the film draws heavily on his romance with Satyavati,” he said.
Arindam said that barring the three pivotal characters of Byomkesh, Satyabati and Ajit, the sleuth’s archetypal ‘Man Friday’, all other characters in the film were non-Bengali as the scenes unfolded in Benaras.
Actor Ritwik Chakroborty, who essayed Ajit, said, “In Arindam Sil’s perspective Bomkesh is seen as being always in the quest of crime clues, and Ajit in the quest of a story.”
Asked if he wanted a break from stereotyping Saswata Chatterjee as Ajit, Arindam said, “Didn’t tax my brain so much. It’s only because I could only visualise Apu (Saswata Chatterjee) as the sleuth in my Ebar Shabor, than Byomkesh.”
“He is an actor who can read between the lines of a script and improvise and I exploited that.” The film, which also casts Bollywood character actor Subrat Dutt, would be released this winter.