Bengali Features

‘Mandaar’ is My Adaptation of ‘Macbeth’, Says Anirban Bhattacharya about His Directorial Debut

Mandaar, the new Bengali web series starring actors Debasish Mondal and Sohini Sarkar, is an adaptation of the William Shakespeare tragedy Macbeth, said actor Anirban Bhattacharya, who is making his directorial debut with the series, in conversation with Silverscreen India.


The web series premiered on Friday on the Bengali OTT platform Hoichoi in its new World Classics category.

Mandaar is my perspective of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth,” said Bhattacharya, speaking to Silverscreen India at the trailer launch of the show held at Kolkata’s Gyan Manch on November 8.

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, three witches tell the Scottish general Macbeth that he will be King of Scotland. Encouraged by his wife, Macbeth kills the king, becomes the new king, and kills more people out of paranoia. Civil war erupts to overthrow Macbeth, resulting in more death.

Mandaar, meanwhile, is the story of fishermen based in the vast shoreline of the World of Geilpur. The trailer describes the series as “a story of passion painted in blood” in a “rotten” world, “where love is defeated, where greed and desires win, where honour and friends are lost, where men are fooled by power.”

The series stars several theatre actors, including Debashish Mondal as Mandaar (Macbeth), Sohini Sarkar as Laili (Lady Macbeth), Debesh Roy Chowdhury as Dablu Bhai (King Duncan) and Anirban Bhattacharya as police officer Muqaddar Mukherjee.

Speaking about adapting a Western play from the 1600s for the Bengali audience in the 21st century, Bhattacharya said, “After so many years and adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, people are now used to the core ideas and so they expect a change from the makers.”

One of the changes to the original in Mandaar has to do with the witches. While two of the three witches are played by Sajal Mondal and Sudeep Dhara, the third is represented by a cat named Kala. 

However, Bhattacharya noted that the plot has not been changed substantially. “Without changing the plot, Mandaar shows how the people of today go through the same situation. And how they react to the same circumstances is what’s new in this series.”


“Since these plays deal with greed, envy, pain, tragedy – all of which exist in society still – they remain relevant. Shakespeare’s plays are mostly based on human instincts and not on any political scenario that changes with time,” Bhattacharya added.

On why he chose a web series to make his directorial debut with, Bhattacharya said it is the perfect platform for his adaptation of Macbeth.

Mondal, who plays the titular role, shared with Silverscreen India what it was like to play such an intense role in his debut project. “Since we had very little time to complete shooting the series, we did not get multiple shots for a scene and had to deliver single-shot scenes. That was the biggest challenge.”

“But, good work can also come from very limited resources and Mandaar is an example of that,” he added.

Mondal, a long-time theatre actor, also noted that this was his first time playing a fisherman. Since the character hails from a particular geographical area, which has a unique style of living, eating and speaking, he had to put in some research on these aspects.


However, that was the only preparation Mondal had time for given the tight shooting schedule. The actor added that he picked up and became adept at the unique dialect of the fishermen in the Purba Medinipur area of West Bengal by observing and mingling with them during the process of shooting itself.

About Bhattacharya, with whom Mondal has previously worked on the stage, the lead actor said, “As a debutant filmmaker, he was well prepared. He had a clarity about his vision and was able to communicate it exactly, so the experience was great.”

Speaking during the trailer launch, Sarkar said, “I had always eyed the character of Lady Macbeth and it is even more special when your friend and long time co-actor chooses you for his directorial debut.”

Mandaar was shot in a short span of around two weeks on the shores of Mandarmani and Tajpur in West Bengal.