Foraying into Bollywood with a hard hitting film on Male Rape

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strings of passion poster

strings of passion poster

Ace Bengali director Sanghamitra Chaudhuri who is debuting in Bollywood with “Strings of Passion” is very excited to showcase her skills in Hindi. After doing more than dozen films in Bangla language in a row, she is now foraying into Bollywood with a hard hitting theme coupled with rock music and romantic interludes. The film has already won a couple of awards including the Best Film award. Siddharth Mohan got candid with this talented director and talks of her journey from Tollygunge to Bollywood in an exclusive tete-a-tete for Batori.

Tell us about “Strings of Passion”. ?

“Strings of Passion” is an urban flick with 3 good stories neatly interwoven and shot in the City of Joy. With 6 beautiful songs composed by Dev Sikder and great performance by a handful of newcomers, Strings of Passion is stories of three youths grappling with their own unique situations that make their life go through an emotional roller coaster ride. From winning concerts to winning his father’s fiancée and from writing poems for band to writing a poem for his girlfriend and winning her heart, Strings of Passion will take you on a different high through the most romantic, embarrassing and even thought-provoking moments onscreen. Life seems all good until one day when one of the guys ends up in a ghastly gruesome incident that changes the course of their lives.

With an ensemble cast that includes Zeenat Aman, Shubh Mukherjee, Rajesh Sharma, Indrani Halder and Paru Gambhir supported by the super-talented newbie Avalok Nagpal who has won not one but two Best Actor Awards in the National Category, “Strings of Passion” is a drama of love, life and passion, set in the City of Joy who have one thing in common – their love for music and life. Also debuting in this ‘slice of life’ film is the season’s coolest couple Amit Trishaan and Sangita Sonali who we are sure will charm their way into everyone’s hearts.

How did this idea come about?

As for the idea for this film, well; I have been a senior school teacher once upon a time. I have been immensely popular amongst my students.  I have interacted with them, dealt with their various mindsets, threats, emotional stature and most significantly noticed, boys and girls with unsteady family milieu suffer from severe diffidence. They fall prey to various addictions, behave in immature way and are vulnerable to all kinds of emotional repression. “Strings of Passion” knits neatly 3 such stories of three young men.

Bad Parenting is a major issue. What influenced you to deal with this subject?

In most of the families both husband and wife slog hard to earn more and more. But the net result may not feed to their core desires… Thus frustration accrues which is ultimately vented through domestic combats. Children suffer enormously and such situations create scars on their tender psyche.

A director’s personality reflects in his or her cinema. How much of you are in SOP?

I have been counseling youngsters once I began to understand them as a teacher and friend… this cinema is so locked to my heart where Neel, Manu, Amit, Insia, Komal or Tuktuki are simply close to my skin, as if I meet them every day.. See them sop or smile and every bit of this film is just every household’s indoor or may be next door affair, comprehended through an audio visual media.

You worked with brilliant actors like Jackie Shroff, Indrani Halder and Paoli Dam earlier. Then why a fresh lot this time?

The colour of this cinema is skin-tone. No make-up, no added costume, no acting, no starry gloss… simple behaviour and next door look was the demand of this movie… I opted for a few popular faces like Zeenat Aman, Indrani Halder or Rajesh Sharma to add a bit to its commercial obligations, but honestly speaking my new actors, with almost no film experience did their part brilliantly which actually made this film look so innate and so fresh.

Tell us about your experience with them?

Making of this film was not a cake walk. It is my first Hindi Film. I myself, being a part producer, I had to keep both creative and commercial part well balanced. My actors are like my own kin and we all stayed together in a guest house, discussed film, worked hard and at the end partied harder.

Zeenat ji was like a God Mother, always encouraging me, and also cooperating with all production shortfalls till the last day of her shoot.

You touched upon a very sensitive issue of Male Rape in SOP. Do you think today’s audiences are ready for it?

Sexual abuse has become a daily occurrence. Media only highlight oppression of the fairer sex. Young women falling prey gets abundant news value. But even male rape is common in this society. In college hostels, work place, parties, prisons or other corners such incidents do occur. I don’t know how will our society react to this paranoia, but it is true and an alarm for those who are unaware.

You have worked with two powerful sound engineers – Anup Mukherjee and Debojit Sangmai in the film. How powerful is the soundtrack?

The Music and Sound are the solid assets of this film. The 5.1 surround makes you feel so close to the scenes and situations, especially I remember Anupda creating the audio of an aero plane soaring high against a visual where Neel and Insia discuss their dream standing on the top floor of a 35 storied building.

Another sound effect of a well, where Tuktuki takes out a bucket of water, was the visual, the iron bucket falls banging on the walls deep in the water, the echo and the resonance along with the splashing sound made me awestruck.

Debojit Sangmai the sound designer for Barfi, Heroine and other big Bolly-flicks did the final mixing for us along with Anup Mukherjee his Teacher, sitting beside him. It was an awesome experience.

You need great theatres with best sound equipment to do justice to such great work.

Debut in Hindi and you managed not 1 but 5 awards. How does it feel?

Honestly speaking each award is like a new feather being added on the crown. But the crowning will only happen when it hits the box office and the mass will appreciate our work. I am restless… I am eagerly waiting for that day. Tollywood is like home. Bollywood is like staying in a five star hotel… Pinches the pocket, but at the end of the day it gives the best.

Final words…

Thanks to my team, all my actors, technicians, business associates and friends who are helping me from day one till date to make this film a success. Last but not the least, a request to all film lovers, “please watch the film in theatres to get the best out of it and to contribute to anti- piracy movement”.

By : Siddharth Mohan

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