His upcoming film 'Dhananjoy' is grabbing audience attention like no other films of current time has. The film on the much debatable figure Dhananjoy Chatterjee, the man who was executed for the rape and murder of Hetal Parekh has already fueled some controversies before its release. However, filmmaker Arindam Sil, who has delivered back-to-back hits is not bothered about the criticisms coming to his way. His only concern is the audience who is waiting eagerly for the film's release. In an exclusive interview with Pycker, Arindam Sil poured his heart out.
Dhananjoy was executed on 14th August 2004 for the rape and murder of Hetal Parekh. It's been 13 years. Why make a film on him now?
While working on various subjects, this one grabbed my attention. Actually, Atanu Ghosh sent me some links to read which intrigued me. The idea of 'Dhananjoy' came from there. Srikanta Mohta instantly agreed to produce the movie. While doing the research, I found some interesting facts and events. Was Dhananjoy a criminal or not is a different question, but the way the case was handled which lead to his execution wasn't right by all means. There were lots of loopholes.
The audience has diverse views on the movie. The social media responses are showing some negative feedback as well. Some viewers think the film sympathizes with a rapist and glorifies him.
Whoever is saying this they haven't yet watched the film. They are just giving feedbacks on a trailer or some promotional activities. First, one has to watch the movie to know what the film is trying to convey or is it conveying anything at all. We are extremely judgmental. Thanks to social media, now anyone can type an opinion on social media in offensive language. These people are only seeking cheap publicity. I have nothing to say to them. But, numbers of the audience are eagerly waiting for the movie for which I am excited as well as tense. I didn't get such response in my previous movies. The audience of quality films are not pseudo intellectuals. They would love to watch the movie with an open mind.
Did you meet anyone from Dhananjoy's family for your research work? What was your experience there?
We met Dhananjoy's family at their place and stayed two days there for our research. Things they have said to us has been used in the film as dialogues. The experience was heart-shattering. It felt like the death happened just yesterday. What they had to bear throughout this 27 years is extremely sad.
Anirban in an interview told playing Dhananjoy was mentally taxing for him. Was it the same with you and others on your team?
We all have gone through this. Everyone in the team has felt the mental exhaustion while working. Anirban probably faced the worst of it. Even, Bickram Ghosh (the music composer of 'Dhananjoy') while doing the music for the film told me 'I am unable to take the agony it anymore. I want to get rid of it.' Even we are unable to rewatch some scenes while working on subtitles and other stuff. Whatever we have learned from the research, it makes it difficult to digest the facts.
So, there is a chance that the audience too will find it difficult to digest the film?
It might be. The truth is always ugly. My team and I have faced it and now we are bringing this to the audience.
Does the film have any message to give to the audience?
Not at all. This film is like a debate. One thing which was being conveyed to us before and another thing what we got from our intense research work - these are the two sides of the debate. I want the audience to make their own opinions on it.
You are repeating Anirban Bhattacharya in your back to back films. Is he your new favourite?
Anirban Bhattacharya, Abir Chatterjee, Sohini Sarkar, Ritwick Chakraborty, all are very dear to me. They are amazing actors and I enjoy working with them.
How was your experience of working with Mimi Chakraborty for the first time?
Wonderful. I have always wanted to work with her. Mimi's performance in 'Dhananjoy' is perhaps her best performance so far.
What are your upcoming projects? Are we going to get any Shabor or Byomkesh Bakshi film from you this year?
The shoot of next Shabor will start on 7th September. The film might release in January 2018. There is also an Indo-Bangladesh project. I will do another Byomkesh movie in sometime soon.
Any message for the readers of Pycker?
Sometimes, we need to take a stand to fulfil our social responsibilities. Sometimes, we have to face the truth doesn't matter how difficult it is and that's why 'Dhananjoy' is made. One has to watch the movie with this perspective. My audience has given me courage by supporting my last six movies. 'Dhananjoy' has been possible for this courage.