Well, Streer Potro or The Wife’s Letter had not been a fairy task for anyone! Not for me as well; spending more than half the day in a furnace full of dreams and a dedication toward Cinema kept everyone alive during the shooting days. After the completion of this project, The Wife’s Letter, I am here to interact directly with the audiences once again. Here, I will let you know about my experiences on directing the actors, dealing with the locations, production elements and at the same time donning the hat of a Probashi who is trying hard to get into the nerves of this city. However, now I feel a part of this wonderful place!
I would like to start with Diganta S. Nag; he had been an ardent learner of Cinema and performing arts and hence, it was easy to mould as desired. Diganta is someone who knows how to appear serious in front of others, though he is one of my kind of ‘persons’. It is easy to get along with him and most importantly, he can work for hours without even having a single drop of water getting absorbed.
He constituted the shooting on the very first day and it began with some chaotic scheduling; it was normal as I was not actually very much accustomed to the way people work here. But, it did not matter much.
The day ended at 11:00 p.m. Toilful times of infinite push-ups to eating stale, frozen fish, it was quite commendable a task from the actor. Therefore, in this case, I just needed to give him a finger mark-up to direct his point-of-view in front of screen; other than this, there was nothing much to deal with during the first day shooting.
Speaking of the female lead, Sanchari Dutta, we enjoyed improvising on the sets a lot. We both have been persons who are more influenced by ‘method acting’ and it gives us a wide space to polish a character’s actions amidst shooting.
Beside this, she has been a close friend of mine and we discuss things both, personal and professional. Hence, I know if she had been going through a clumsy situation; there is a line of understanding between the two of us, when we get hurt and the same occurred on the sets too. However, those things were unimportant and more essential was the coordination in order to complete the film in the much desired manner. It is quite interesting when am pitching a story to my female actor as if I am collaborating terms with my cinematographer; though it was very interesting.
Paromita Mukherji played an essential part in the film when the transition takes place from one world to another. It was a mere 10 seconds role, but it did the sorcerer’s trick! I just told her, “You are polishing Mrinal when you are rubbing the stones.” It was a scene when she had to rub two stone particles against each other with a momentary look of despair.
I must tell that she was a tough task master to deal with; on our very first meet, I had to narrate the whole story including my sense of interpretation added to each scene. It seemed as if I am pitiching my script to a producer though.
Saikat Mukherji played a small part in the film as a police inspector and I chose him for his casual, lazy looking approach trying to be smart at times. Saikat da was firstly very nervous with his part but managed to absorb it as I needed. Actually, he was quite confused with a number of suggestions passing by on how a cop should behave.
Dhiraj Kumar played the role of a sunglass hawker, cum almighty who presents others with the ‘superior vision’ that probes them to view things from an in-depth angle. Being an ardent theatre person, Dhiraj continuously improvised his actions, speech delivery and intonation. He had been of great help when it came to improvising on the dialogue-part too. At par with the character of Streer Potro, Dhiraj has played a very subtle role in this film.
Beside this, he is a director’s actor and he knows what to filter and what not to. Judgmental! Yes, he is! But, he can surely follow the director blindly, though with his own part of improvisation added to it.
Now coming to the lead actor of this film, Kaushik Roy! As already told that the protagonist of this film was quite inspired by Kaushik da. And he has been a comfort-cake for me to direct! Kaushik da had been very supportive too when it came to coordinate with co-actors.
As already stated in the previous interviews, this film is more based on surrealism and V.O. plays a major part here, Kaushik Roy appeared to be exactly befitted for the scenes and at times, the expressions were quite similar to the ones I had perceived. There was a great amount of coordination between the two of us, I must say!
The one sequence that I was a bit concerned about was the platter of bed scenes between Kaushik da and Sanchari. Shooting in a furnace with outside temperature being almost 40 degrees and inside temperature equalled to around 60 degrees with all the lights on. Kaushik da changed the whole aura with participation from Sanchari as well, when things seemed to be equally clumsy for them too.