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Simply unstoppable

Arindam Chaudhuri. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

A great thinker once remarked, “It is decreed by merciful nature that human brain cannot think of two things simultaneously.” Going by his thought, Arindam Chaudhuri has definitely defied nature. A management guru, an economist, dean of a reputed B-school and now a three-time National Award winner, Arindam has managed to capture every great height that other mortals can only dream of.

Recently having been conferred the National Award for Best Film, Arindam speaks about his newfangled obsession, movies.

Lesser-known actors, regional languages, low investment and experimental themes. They can turn into major embarrassments for any movie producer. Yet each time Arindam takes the less trodden route, he manages to turn the tide. What is it in a script that he decides to invest in it?

“First and foremost, it's the script,” he states. “The priority is that the script should be able to connect to people; people should identify it with something going around them. And even if the script demands compromising on actor, budget, action or music, it should be adhered to and script should remain the same.”

Interestingly, his movies, Faaltu, The Last Lear and Do Dooni Chaar that won National Awards in their respective categories, have been devoid of great publicity. One would be tempted to think he makes them with the sole aim of vying for the National Awards.

“Well,” explains Arindam, “in Faaltu, the market was a niche audience, those understanding Bengali, so why waste money to reach out to those who don't understand it. Even The Last Lear's market was not that of a conventional Bollywood flick, and Disney bought the marketing rights for Do Dooni Chaar, so we had little say in its marketing and promotion.”

How difficult was it to convince Neetu Singh to take up the role Kusum Duggal, after a hiatus of nearly three decades? “It demanded some convincing from us and Rishiji particularly, to make her hear the script,” he admits. “But once we read out the script, it was an instant yes. You know one thing, even Karan Johar approached her with a script but she refused outright. Portraying Kusum Duggal, with oiled hair, Sarojini Nagar chappals and typical Delhi-middle class slang was never going to be easy for a lady who is the complete opposite of that, but Neetuji, once she got into flare, played her part with absolute ease.”

Locations, feels Arindam, are a vital ingredient in the success of a movie. “Gone are the days when you shot movies in studios or at far-flung locations like Switzerland. People now need something to which they can connect, they can relate. And Murshidabad, Kolkata and lanes of Lajpat Nagar in Delhi just justify this thing.”

After Bengali, English and Hindi, what linguistic territory is Arindam planning to enter? “Right now, we are working on a movie in Tamil. It will hit the screens somewhere around next year. And there are couple of Hindi films as well, one of which I am directing.”

Rok sako to rok lo! Arindam is in high gear.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 7:04:17 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/simply-unstoppable/article2054466.ece

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