ANINDITA ACHARYA, KOLKATA: For director Arjunn Dutta, the philosophy behind making films is quite simple. “When I sit down to write my stories, all I think is that my films should touch heart,” he says.
But then, life isn’t simple and Arjunn narrated a complex mother-son relationship in his debut Bengali film Abyakto. This time, he returns with his second directorial Guldasta, and has tried to weave a tale of three women — Dolly Bagri (Swastika Mukherjee), Shreerupa (Arpita Chatterjee) and Renu (Debjani Chatterjee) — and their web of emotions. A mere glance at Dolly Bagri and you would know that this middle-aged sales woman is someone whom you may have known. In fact, these are characters Arjunn have met in his life. But the women have complex issues, and their own hardships, painful stories to tell, which fascinate the storyteller in Arjunn.
After the release of Guldasta, he will be busy with the post-production of Shrimati, which has Swastika in the lead. But wouldn’t we categorise Guldasta and Shrimati as women-centric films? “Though Guldasta and Shrimati can be called as women-centric movies, the male characters are very strong in the films. I believe in humanism. I am not telling only stories about women. Abyakto was a film about a broken relationship between a mother and son. My films are high on emotions and yes, coincidentally my protagonists have been women,” defends the director.
Arjunn has been surrounded by women in his life, especially his mother and grandmother and has a different take on women empowerment too. “Women empowerment to me doesn’t always mean smoking, drinking and wearing western clothes… it means the choices you make and the freedom to do it. Empowerment doesn’t mean forgetting the roots.” He cites the example of films like Kangana Ranaut-starrer Panga and Taapsee Pannu’s Thappad.
Meanwhile, Arjunn is happy with the camaraderie he has developed with Arpita, Swastika, Debjani and Anubhav Kanjilal while working with Guldasta. “You get to work with the best actors and human beings. What more do you need?” he smiles.
With Arpita and Anubhav, this is his second film after Abyakto. Arjunn has also worked with Swastika on two films. On working with Debjani, who is in all his three feature films, he says she is the “lady luck”. “Debjani di has been working with him since my short film. So, it’s kind of a pact that we have between us… something on the lines of Karan Johar and Kajol,” he laughs out loud.
Arjunn is writing a web series and film. However, he says it’s an exciting time to be a director, thanks to OTT platforms. “For those who rely on content and not on gimmicks, OTT gives you a lot of scope to explore. However, the enigma of the big screen will forever remain,” he says.
As more OTT players continue to offer a wide variety of content, Arjunn says the competition has also increased. “The audience is being exposed to a world of content and the best talent is being judged. Also, OTT is one happy place for all kinds of content to co-exist,” he signs off.