At a time when Bangla films last mere weeks at the theatre, Dhrubo Banerjee is fresh from the success of Durgeshgorer Guptodhon completing a whopping 100 days. How does it feel? “It feels unreal, magical. 100 days is something unheard of in recent times, in Bengali cinema,” says Dhrubo. Personal milestone aside, the director feels that his Guptodhon series is good for the industry. “I think the success of my film will bring the audience back to theatres,” says Dhrubo. He explains, “When I was young, my father used to take us to the movies. It was the greatest entertainment of my childhood. The Guptodhon series has made me believe that the Bengali’s hunger for entertainment is still the same. These two films have created a new generation of audience, aged 4 to 30. A massive number of people from this age group, who had stopped coming to cinemas, have returned to the big screen.”
His professor turned treasure-hunter Sonada might be searching for palpable treasure, but Dhrubo Banerjee feels that the real treasure his films have unearthed is Bengal’s history, culture and heritage. “I gave up my life in Mumbai and came back to Kolkata after 22 years. I came back to all that I had missed. I came back to my roots, my heritage. That return is portrayed in my films. In fact, that is the real treasure.” How so? Dhrubo explains, “All the clues that Sonada deciphers are rooted in Bengal’s history and culture. At a time when it’s impossible to teach kids about Bengal’s history, the film does exactly that, in an easy-to-digest manner. The films make us proud of our inheritance.”
Read Abir Chatterjee’s take on the success of Durgeshgorer Guptodhon:
Taking cue from the Indiana Jones and National Treasure franchises, Dhrubo Banerjee has created the Guptodhon universe. His characters never seem extra-ordinary or out of the audience’s grasp. Instead, they are relatable, guy-next-door types. Abir Chatterjee’s Sonada is not a detective or an explorer, but a professor. “While Indiana Jones focuses on mythical treasure, National Treasure is steeped in North American history. I, too, wanted to focus on the history of Bengal and present it in a new light. As I’ve been away from my state for so long, every new location I discovered, excited me. That excitement is translated in my frames,” reminisces Dhrubo.
After two huge successes, there is naturally a lot of expectation from the third film of the Guptodhon series. Tollywood is abuzz with the question-- can Dhrubo Banerjee score a hat-trick? There must be tremendous pressure on you? “I can only do what I’m capable of doing. I never knew the films would be so big. But coming back to your question, there’s zero pressure on me. Film-making makes me happy. So it’s only happiness for me, no pressure,” smiles Dhrubo.
Check out the History Rap Volume 2 from Durgeshgorer Guptodhon:
There is a sense of satisfaction tinged with wonder in his voice as the ad film maker turned director concludes, “Nothing beats creating great characters. When kids look at Abir and call him Sonada, it makes me believe that we have created something that will transcend time. We grew up with characters like Feluda and Tenida. Similarly, today’s kids will say decades from now that they grew up with Sonada.”
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