By Ahana Bhattacharya
Kolkata, Nov 20 (IANS) Belashuru, the last film of Bangla cinema legend Soumitra Chattopadhyay, could release on his birthday, January 19, if things normalise in the wake of the ongoing pandemic.
The film is directed by the acclaimed duo of Shiboprosad Mukherjee and Nandita Roy. On Friday, speaking to IANS, Mukherjee spoke of release plans of the film.
“Belashuru is the sequel to Bela Seshe (2015) and it is also Soumitra Da’s last film, which makes it really close to our heart. The film was ready to be released on the 5th of June this year, but the pandemic had other plans and we had to postpone release. We are waiting for things to normalise and once 100 per cent audience is allowed in the theatres, we will release the film. Now we are planning to release the film on January 19, 2021, on Soumitra Da’s birthday. If that doesn’t work out then, we will have to push the release to May 28, 2021,” said Mukherjee.
Soumitra Chattopadhyay worked with Mukherjee and Roy in films like Bela Sheshe, Praktan and Posto in recent years.
Mukerjee said he planned to collaborate on more projects with the actor, a recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the National Award as Best Actor and the Legion of Honour, the highest civilian award in France, besides Padma Bhushan.
“We last met on August 29 this year, and we planned to do a short film around 14th December along with a full-length feature film. It was a plan of around two month but, alas, it remained a plan. Since 2013, we have been working every year in winter, but this year we couldn’t,” said Mukherjee.
Recalling his experience of directing the late actor, Mukherjee said: “He was a director’s actor and extremely professional. He always reached before time. If the call time was at 9 am, he would be present exactly at quarter to 9 and always adhered to the time he committed. As a veteran actor he had an eye for details. Before any shoot, he always used to come to our office in the early hours of morning to listen to the script. After that, he used to impart his suggestions, if any, on us. He did as he was asked to, barring a few times when he wanted to modify some dialogues or lines.”
Soumitra Chattopadhyay was a favourite of master filmmaker Satyajit Ray, who memorably cast him as the iconic detective Feluda in the first two films of the series.
Mukherjee recalls hearing a story about Ray from the late actor. “He always kept speaking about Manik Da (Satyajit Ray) and the time and moments they shared with each other. He shared a lot of untold stories, out of all the one I remember is, in one of the scenes in the movie, Sonar Kella, a postal stamp was required. Ray himself drew the stamp from his imagination. By the time the production team came back with the stamp, the shot was already over and later when both the stamps were matched, they were completely alike! Soumitra da also spoke about Sakha Prasakha, Abhijan, Aranyer Din Ratri and the memories attached to the films,” recalled Mukherjee.
During the conversation, the director went down memory lane to recall Soumitra the person. “We were fortunate enough to have him over at our place a lot of times. He loved listening to the Esraj and talking to people about various things, out of which cricket and old Bengali movies were his favourite topics. He also spoke in length about his favourite actors like Uttam Kumar, Rabi Ghosh, Balraj Sahni, Naseeruddin Shah and Irrfan Khan to name a few. He also had a great taste for food, especially fish,” he said.
“The feeling of him being no-more haunts me these days. Through the wonderful time that we shared together and the life-long memories we curated, we will always have him among us, in our memories and our heart,” concluded the director.