The teaser of Abhijaan, the Bengali biopic based on legendary actor Soumitra Chatterjee, was released on Tuesday on the occasion of the thespian’s 86th birthday.
Actor and director Parambrata Chattopadhyay, the film’s director, shared the film’s teaser on social media. The film stars Chatterjee, playing himself, while Jisshu Sengupta plays his younger version.
In an email interaction with Silverscreen India, Chattopadhyay said that he missed Chatterjee “quite a bit”.
“I wanted him to see how I’ve understood and manifested his worldview on screen,” he said.
The film is the brainchild of Shubhendu Sen, an oncologist based in New Jersey.
“My producer Navratan Jhawar and his friend Shubhendu Sen had first come up with the idea [of the film]. They approached me with it and I accepted,” said Chattopadhyay, adding that he has co-written the script along with Padmanabha Dasgupta and Dr Sen .
Chatterjee was part of the film even before Chattopadhyay came on board and the film’s takes would have to be approved by the legendary actor, he said.
“I was a little skeptical. The narrative approach doesn’t only portray him as a hero, but also tries to look at his different shades as a human being. I believe that’s the way a person and an artist should be looked at. But he was appreciative [about the script],” Chattopadhyay said.
Talking about Sengupta, who plays the younger version of Chatterjee, Chattopadhyay said that he wasn’t on board from the beginning due to unavailability of dates. “We somehow made it work out, and ever since, he was spot on.”
Chatterjee was known for his successful collaboration with the master filmmaker Satyajit Ray and was also considered to be Ray’s muse. Not only did the actor make his debut in Ray’s directorial Apur Sansar in 1959, he went on to act in 14 of Ray’s films spanning three decades. In Abhijaan, director Qaushik Mukherjee, popularly known as Q, plays the role of Ray.
“Q was supposed to play Ray in some other film a few years ago, which didn’t take off. My costume designer, Shaborni Das, was working on that film too. She had shown me pictures from that film’s look test. I was sold immediately. His is one casting which is closest in terms of physical resemblance,” Chattopadhyay said.
Chatterjee, who died on November 15, 2020, was unwell during the shooting of Abhijaan, said Chattopadhyay. He said that while the shooting was completed before Chatterjee died, the late actor couldn’t dub his lines.
“I’ve enjoyed meeting him every week for three months, that was my progress in understanding him. That’s really the best part. The shooting was a bit hectic because he would shoot only five hours a day due to health reasons,” he said.