National Award winning Bengali actor Prosenjit Chatterjee's character of the suave and dynamic politician in Dibakar Banerjee's "Shanghai" is inspired by and modelled upon acclaimed filmmaker Shekhar Kapur.
Banerjee's team was asked to dig up pictures of how Kapur looked 15 to 20 years back. These were used as direct reference points for Prosenjit's physical appearance in "Shanghai".
"The fact is, when I wrote the role of the fantastically sexy and suave politician, it was Shekhar Kapur I had in mind. But we needed someome in his 40s. So, while we wisely chose Prosenjit for the politician's role, it was Shekhar Kapoor we had in mind," said Banerjee.
The filmmaker admits that watching Prosenjit in "Shanghai" will remind viewers of the way Kapur walks, talks and dresses.
"Shekhar had this absolutely crazy dress sense which worked perfectly for him. He would mix and match the most unlikely clothes and colours and still look dynamic," he said.
"We took out Shekhar's sartorial adventures from internet and we used pictures to design Prosenjit's clothes," he added.
However, more than the clothes, it's Kapur's attitude that's been imbued in Prosenjit's character.
"When Shekhar talks, he doesn't have to raise his voice to be heard. There's an inherent magnetism and wisdom to his personality that we've used for Prosenjit's character."
"I think his character will give to the middle-aged women in the audience a new sex symbol. He is a younger Shekhar Kapur and Naseeruddin Shah," said Banerjee, known for films like "Khosla Ka Ghosla", "Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!" and "Love Sex Aur Dhokha".
Prosenjit says Kapur was a "thinking sex symbol" of his times.
"That's how Dibakar has visualised my character. We sat down together and thought of a look for me. We thought of the way Shekharji used to look 15 to 20 years ago."
"Women of a certain age would swoon over his suave serene styling and demeanour. He was the thinking woman's sex symbol. I love the idea of being in the same space. But I don't mind being the non-thinking woman's sex symbol either," said the 49-year-old.