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Shiboprosad: “Our audience is ready to accept new content”

Bengali director Shiboprosad has delivered three back-to-back hits with his films Bela Seshe, Praktan and Posto. In conversation with Sayali Parab, Shiboprosad talks about how Posto has opened doors in the international market and also speaks about his co-director, Nandita Roy

It’s a hat-trick for you. Back-to-back, your films Bela Seshe, Praktan and Posto have garnered a lot of appreciation. How do you feel about that?

By God’s grace, we have a fantastic track record. Every one of my films has done phenomenally well. They have done well at the box office and they have also garnered a lot of critical acclamation. From my first film Icche to MuktodharaAlik SukhRamdhanuBela SeshePraktan and Posto, they have done a good job. It’s a great feeling, actually. The way people are connecting with them… It’s a great feeling.

 Your last film Posto was also a great success. What kind of response have you been getting for the film?

Fantastic response! People have positively responded in West Bengal, the interiors of Bengal, pan-India and overseas too. For the first time, a film of ours has released in the Netherlands, Sweden… Not a single Bengali film has released in the Netherlands and Sweden before. Posto released in the US, Canada and also in Ahmedabad. Posto is opening new doors and this will help other Bengali films too. I think it’s a great thing apart from box-office collections or success.

 Bengali films have been a part of international film festivals and now Posto has taken a great overseas opening. What space does Bengali cinema have in the current scenario?

I think content is the main thing in Bengali cinema. This is true not only of Bengali cinema but other regional film industries too. The more regional you become, you will be more international. Take Sairat, for example, Bangalore Days… The same thing is happening in Bengali cinema. Take the example of Baahubali… Content is the main thing that rules.

Is the Bengali audience adjusting to the type of content being provided to them? Do you think audience tastes have changed?

Obviously, the audience has completely changed. Previously, our films used to work only in cities and multiplexes and now they are releasing in more than a hundred cinemas. That’s a huge thing. Our kind of films, which are middle-of-the road cinema, are not typical commercial cinema. So the content is changing and the audience is accepting it, and the numbers are coming from there. Producers are also happy. The audience is ready to accept new content. The same thing is happening in Indian cinema, overall, for example, Akshay Kumar’s film Toilet- Ek Prem Katha or Jolly LLB, and even Shah Rukh Khan’s Dear Zindagi. Films like these are different. So films are changing and the audience is changing too.

Speaking of Nandita Roy… How has your collaboration with her developed over time?

It’s been a long journey. We have been doing films for the last… First of all, our association is 19 years old. We also started Windows Production. Nandita and I have been working together since 1998 and it’s been a fantastic journey. We are co-directors and partners too. You could say it’s almost like a relay. Sometimes, I get a concept and sometimes she does. When it comes to screenplay, she writes it and I write dialogue. Together, we take decisions about casting. The shooting part is done by me and she does the editing. I do the dubbing and she takes part in the finishing of the film. So it’s like a relay, one starts and the other one finishes it.

You are an actor, director and a producer as well. Which among these three is your true calling?

At present, it’s direction. I love being in that zone right now. As a producer, Windows Productions has done six films, back-to-back, and we have three blockbusters with Eros.

And what is it like being a producer?

This year, we are not only producing our own films but those of other directors as well. In 2017, we are producing a film titled Prajapati Biscuit and next year we will be doing a film called Rasgulla, which is a very challenging project because next year it’s the 150th year of the rasgulla. So the whole story centres on how the rasgulla was created. It’s a love story. It’s about on how someone created the rasgulla for his wife. As a producer, I have taken the responsibility of presenting and supporting young directors and new concepts. As producers, that’s our responsibility, for Nandita and me.

 Lastly, what are your upcoming projects?

At this point, we are planning a couple of projects. One of them, in the pipeline, is based on the life of a radio jockey who is suffering from cancer. That’s the subject… How he overcomes it and lives his life. We are working on it at present.

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