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Detective Byomkesh Bakshy Updates: IN CINEMAS NOW! (Page 101)

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At the Detective Byomkesh Bakshi screening. Everyone go support these 2 amazing actors #SushantSinghRajput and @meiyangchang. I'm in love with what #DibakarBanerjee has made!!!! What a creative and innovate director!! emojiemojiemoji



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Sushant has a dark side: Dibakar Banerjee

Apr 02, 2015 | 
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Byomkesh will be a revelation or a shock. Now we wish that it will be a pleasant shock!' says Dibakar

Byomkesh will be a revelation or a shock. Now we wish that it will be a pleasant shock!' says Dibakar 

On a visit to The Asian Age on Thursday, Dibakar Banerjee and Sushant Singh Rajput chatted about working on Detective Byomkesh Bakshy...

The office of The Asian Age played host to two very special guests on Thursday afternoon. On the eve of the release of their film Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (based on the popular Bengali fiction series by Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay) director Dibakar Banerjee and actor Sushant Singh Rajput spent an hour with us, discussing their film, its inspirations and influences. Dibakar let us know that this was a dream project, one that was aimed at the youth of India. And as for Sushant, well, he let go of a bigger budget production so he could be part of Byomkesh " an indication of his faith in the story. Excerpts from the conversation: 

Is Byomkesh based on one particular story?

Dibakar: We have reinterpreted a lot of the material but the Byomkesh we know, (is over a span of) 31 stories. And just one film will not give the whole flavour to the audience so we have bought the rights to the entire canon and elements from that reflect in this one film, so the audience gets the whole range in this one film. This film also happens to tell how Byomkesh became Detective Byomkesh. 

Did you have Uttam Kumar's Byomkesh in mind while making the film?

Sushant: Dibakar told me to watch the film and said, "This is what you will become during Byomkesh because the Byomkesh in my film is very young. He is not seasoned, he is making mistakes, he is learning. 

Probably by the end of the film he will graduate to being the Uttam Kumar of Chidhiyaan Khana."

Dibakar: We saw Chidhiyaan Khana to know what we could not do. It has a mature Byomkesh. 

There was a leaked video that gives out the suspense of your film. 

Dibakar: It will not take away anything from our film. 

Were you scared about adapting a literary classic into a film?

Dibakar: I was not scared then, I am scared now. Filmmakers live on a huge high when they get a script and their team ready but as the day comes, (they begin to get nervous though) some manage to hide it. I won't hide it this time, now I am scared. DBB will be a revelation or a shock. Now we wish that it will be a pleasant shock. 

Dibakar, your take on Sushant?

Dibakar: I think Sushant has a very pleasant exterior and hides a pretty dark interior. He is one thing in public and one thing in private. When an actor is like that, they can play good detective roles. I think there are depths to Sushant that he is not giving other people access to. 

Sushant, how much of a detective are you in real life?

Sushant: I am a bit suspicious. I think everybody else is too. I think when you talk to somebody you are continuously thinking what he/she is thinking about you or how we are perceived. In that case we are guessing all the time. I think I just punctuated that emotion that's inside of me. 

Do you keep tabs on Ankita? 

Sushant: No, I am smart enough to understand, so I make her believe that I am not doing it! Also, I am not doing it because I know everything!

Does she tell you everything?

Sushant: I get to know everything! 

Dibakar, tell us about getting the script and casting right for DBB.

Dibakar: Detective Byomkesh Bakshy was a long-standing dream and Sushant had an offer to go and do a much more commercial and a much more lucrative film at the same time. He gave it up. I could have easily done another film which follows on the ranks of Khosla Ka Ghosla, Shanghai, LSD, which would be quirky and for a slightly more niche audience and continued with my "johla-wala" image. Byomkesh was my attempt to connect with the 16-year-old in every audience member because I wanted to share the joy of sharing a pure story, a pure character with the audience. There is no social subtext above the script or above what the characters are going through. 

Sushant, tell us about the transition from playing a not-so-successful cricketer in Kai Po Che to playing M.S. Dhoni.

Sushant: I made myself believe that I am the captain of the Indian cricket team, and everything (that) goes with it. I have been training for a really long time so that every shot that he (Dhoni) plays, is a part of me. There are so many things about the man that we probably don't know and that's precisely why we are making the film. Knowing him inside out is a big challenge. I will do everything that will make me believe that I am him.

Sushant you're spotting more at TV industry parties rather than those hosted by the film fraternity. 

Sushant: I normally don't go to parties but six years ago, I had very few friends, and the last two or three years have been very hectic. I have been continuously working; there are no friends I've made over the last 2-3 years. Also somebody told me that now that they are doing films they won't go for those (TV) parties. But no, this is not true. All the technicians, all the actors irrespective of the medium, they work equally hard and I make sure that I attend their parties. 

What about Ankita's big Bollywood break? 

Sushant: Right now she in the best stage of her life. She wakes up in the afternoon, goes shopping and watches films. I mean she doesn't want to do it. The day she is serious about getting work, she will get it, but right now she doesn't want to.

Dibakar, tell us about meeting Aditya Chopra and working with Yash Raj Films.

Dibakar: It was basically Adi and I. Adi wanted to meet me for quite some time, it took me about six months after that initial discussion to go around and meet him. I thought Adi would ask me to make a film for him but Adi said something completely different and that's why we are here. He told me "Let's work together" and gave me the reason why we should do that. (He said) "Although we are poles apart, looking at your film, the similarity I see is that you believe in your film as much as I do. It is a very risky thing and people will blame me for being intellectual and blame you for being a sellout". He wanted to change the taste of the Indian moviegoing audience a bit. He said he is nervous about saying it outside, as he may sound a bit ambitious. "Let's do something mad at least to amuse (ourselves)," he said. The good thing was that Adi was on fire for DBB. He said this is it!
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  • 3 Apr 2015
  • Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
  • Team HT Caf ht. [email protected] hindustantimes. com >> Continued on P 2

TODAY, THERE ARE NO WHODUNITS'


Film-maker Dibakar Banerjee discusses the language, setting and ideology of his detective film, while actor Sushant Singh Rajput talks about method actingDibakar Banerjee says he was 12 when he was introduced to the world of the Bengali detective, Byomkesh Bakshi. Ever since, he says he's wanted to retell the story. No wonder then, sitting across us, in the HT " Fever 104 FM office, isn't just the seasoned, acclaimed director, but an excited man all pumped up about his dream project.


In one of our most intense On-Record @ Caf sessions in recent times, Dibakar took over the conversation " romanticising about Kolkata of the 1940s, talking about rebuilding it in the city of today, revealing why, for the film, he chose indie musicians over mainstream ones, and why he can't make commercial money-spinners " even as lead actor Sushant Singh Rajput chipped in with his take on method acting', and why becoming your character' as an actor is really a myth.

Sushant, what is it like to be promoting one film while working on another?

SUSHANT: I haven't started shooting for Dhoni yet. We are doing test shoots right now, and will start a few weeks after we are done promoting this film. I have been practising a lot of cricket as well as everything else [to get into character].

Dibakar, you must have grown

up reading Byomkesh. At what point did you realise that you wanted to make the film?

DIBAKAR: When I was 12-13. I didn't know that it was a movie that I wanted to make. Every Bong (Bengali) household has shelves full of Byomkesh books, and you would be told not to read them before you turn 16. By that time, I had graduated to Nick Carter and James Hadley Chase. I read Byomkesh thinking I'd find something salacious. But what I found was something that captivated me forever. Those who have read Byomkesh will tell you that the sense and time of Kolkata, along with the imagery and movement of the stories is unparalleled.

In terms of the language too?

DIBAKAR: Language was the part that I didn't think of adapting immediately. Sharadindu's (Bandyopadhyay; author and creator of Byomkesh) Bengali is shadhu (orthodox), and I didn't have any issue penetrating that. When you read Sharadindu, you actually forget the writing. It's so brilliant that the image becomes paramount " the dark alleys of Kolkata, and the characters who are so Indian, yet universal. The crime and the clues are so original and so Indian. That's what caught me by surprise. I wanted to make something that brought out the adventurous imagery that Sharadindu had in his Byomkesh.

Which of his stories have you

explored in the film?

DIBAKAR: I won't tell you, as then, you will look for the villain in the film. It will take away the joy of the familiar and the joy of the shock.

Did you ever think of adapting it in a modern setting?

DIBAKAR: No. Setting it up in mid-century Kolkata became the feel for me. There is something about that era in which Byomkesh is a young detective. I don't think a detective story today works as successfully as it did in the past. Today, there are no whodunits as we already know "who's done it". Crime scenes hardly have the secret of the criminal. The question is, how to bring the criminal to justice.

How much was Sharadindu inspired by the western concept of a detective?

DIBAKAR: Essentially, the concept of a detective is western. I don't think he was inspired at all; he just absorbed it. Sharadindu reinvented it; his Byomkesh and his assistant are completely Indian and that's the genius. That's something that needs to be seen; the fact that how Indian Byomkesh was and how Indian he made him, without any jingoism. Yet, these are all universal characters, who are as evil, sensuous and dark as can be.

Sushant, how was it working on this project?

SUSHANT: It wasn't easy. For almost 150 days, I only researched. I used to have long conversations with Dibakar, visit Kolkata often, and have conversations with random people on the road there. That's how a week before we started shooting, we were sure of what we are not supposed to do. DIBAKAR: Like Uttam Kumar's Chiriyakhana (1967) by Satyajit Ray. 

SUSHANT: Yes, that's the only Byomkesh film that Dibakar showed me. And when I saw it, he particularly told me that this is something that I'm not supposed to do. 

DIBAKAR: Not because I don't like it. It's quite nice actually. But when you see Uttam Kumar as Byomkesh, you see a seasoned detective in his prime. But our Byomkesh is first the character Byomkesh, and then the detective. He's first the man with all his eccentricities, flaws, weaknesses, and he's a rookie Byomkesh. He's just out of college, and unsure of himself. He's learning, making mistakes, yet he is up against his biggest nemesis.

Were you aware of Byomkesh before Dibakar introduced you to the character?

SUSHANT: Of course, I knew who he was. I hadn't read anything, but I had memories of the Doordarshan show. I remember the track that used to play and the subtle mannerisms of the character. So, I had some idea, but Dibakar very particularly told me not to watch anything while I was shooting for the film.

Did you consider a Bengali actor as the lead?

DIBAKAR: If he could speak Hindi flawlessly and had a huge fan following, I would have. And if he was a good actor, a good looker, about 26-27 years old, and known in the Hindi film world as an upcoming movie star, then I would have taken him.

Was Sushant your first choice?

DIBAKAR: Out of the crop of the upcoming actors, who will hopefully become the reigning stars of tomorrow, yes. I was looking for somebody who understood the art of understatement, because I don't think a detective is a rational creature; he's a logical creature. There is some clinical precision to how a detective probably behaves. I found Sushant acted naturally in Pavitra Rishta. It was a TV show, but I saw him actually giving subtle takes. It's very easy to look and sound good in a well-mounted accomplished film like Kai Po Che! (2013) or PK (2014), or it is very easy to look dishy, where you are acting to the fantasy of today's youth. But it's not easy to be subtle in a TV show, day after day. In every episode that I watched, whenever Sushant was doing a scene, it was more natural. We had a long chat about how he did that. And he told me his dukhra (sad story). He told me, I was about to be thrown off...' 

SUSHANT: After the first three months, the makers of the show planned to replace me as they thought I was not acting. Then TRPs started going up, so they were happy and I was safe.

Did you audition Sushant?

DIBAKAR: I did, but not as a means to choose him. I auditioned him after casting him. It was a way of figuring out how to get Sushant to become Byomkesh.

What's your take on an actor becoming the character' theory of preparation?

SUSHANT: I don't think it's possible to become your character'. As an individual, you have conflicts and similarities and dissimilarities with the character. And you are continuously working on those dissimilarities. It's like a pendulum swinging, and you can only try and get close to your character. Kevin Spacey said about Al Pacino that he used to give 40 to 50 takes, and then he walked to the director and say, "Something happened in the 19th or 20th take; just check." 

DIBAKAR: Also, if you are shooting a film for two or three months, you can't have a calculated formula because Byomkesh goes through a gamut of emotions. So, Sushant walked through the streets of Kolkata, anonymously, for days, to observe the city and its people, and I started talking to him about what might have changed between then and now. For example, an average Bengali has a deep love for conversation... Sushant doesn't talk much, so we got him to start conversing. Bengalis are also obsessed with washing their hands. After they eat, they wash their hands because they don't want their hand entho' (dirty). We concentrated on such things...

How well does Kolkata today lend itself to a period film?

DIBAKAR: Cinematically, some of it. We shot the film over 66 days, out of which 28 days were in Kolkata, and the rest on our sets in Mumbai. We kind of exhausted places in Kolkata, but there were logistical problems. For example, at some places you can only shoot on weekends, which would have really extended the shoot. We went to BBD Bagh, and in one night, we changed everything that was contemporary. We got two trams from the Calcutta State Transport Corporation, and painted them in the advertising of that time.

Is this film the beginning of a potential series?

DIBAKAR: You know, you'll make me cry now. I desperately want this movie to work. I never wanted any of my other films to work as much as I want this one to, because the other ones were pretty safe movies. They were cheap films, so I knew that they'll recover their money. That doesn't mean I wasn't attached to those films, but with this one, it's slightly different. It has cost a lot more money than any of my other films. My deepest desire for this film is to get a genuine Indian icon out there, in its full Indian unconsciousness; which is not jingoistic. That, for me, is a way of celebrating who we are today. If this works with the audience, only then can we make part two.

Did you screen test Swastika Mukherjee?

DIBAKAR: Yes. We screen tested about 80 actresses from Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata. Her test was quite spectacular. But her look was completely wrong. So, I decided to go for the actor' in her and then we worked on her look for many weeks.

Sushant, you'll next start shooting for the Dhoni biopic. Is it easier to play a real-life character as compared to a fictional character?

SUSHANT: I don't think it's that simple to differentiate. The most important thing is that despite undergoing all the research, we can't play our research' in front of the camera. When the director says action', your research is not in front of you. Research just gives us the authority to believe that we have the right to be that character. When you get that feeling, it's only the first step. So, if I have to play someone who is still around and everyone has a visual reference of it, I have to take care of a few things. I know how he (Dhoni) talks, walks or plays cricket. So yes, it's an imitation of sorts, but I have to convince myself that I am not playing him; I am him. This is what I am trying to do.




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Edited by SushitaLover23 - 02 April 2015 at 10:20pm
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Sabyasachi's assistant designer makes her film debut in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!

Anjan Sachar | 02 Apr 2015 
18
Divya Menon makes her film debut in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!

A debut with India's largest production company, Yash Raj Films, and with one of the country's leading directors, Dibakar Banerjee, is a two-fold feat not achieved by many. But 26-year-old Divya Menon, who studied fashion design at NIFT and has since worked as an assistant designer and model with Sabyasachi Mukherjee, is well-versed with dual roles.

Banerjee is all praise for her performance in his latest movie Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! which releases across India tomorrow. In the movie, set in 1940s Kolkata, Menon plays a young aristocrat called Satyavati. "Divya has what very few debutantes have...an absolute presence and a completely natural performance. You can't ignore her for a moment even while she's sharing the screen with top stars. Her elegance and poise form a very attractive contrast with her innocence; exactly the Satyavati I wanted," says Banerjee.

When we met in Mumbai, in what turns out to be her first ever interview, here's what the Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! actress had to say about her shift from fashion to films.


Divya Menon plays one of the lead actresses in Dibaker Banerjee's Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!

Tell us how you landed the role of Satyavati.

I had been working as an assistant designer for Sabyasachi for around a year, and I'd also modelled for some of his campaigns. This was around 2013, I was on a sick leave actually, when I got a call from him saying, "Are you interested in doing a movie? I have a director sitting in front of me, have you heard of Dibakar Banerjee?" Of course I had! All too soon, he was handing over the phone to Dibakar, and that was the first time I spoke with him. I remember my heart was beating so fast; I thought it was an early April fool's joke.

Was this your first time in front of the camera?

Yes, it was. I went in for the audition an hour after Sabya's call and it was my first time in front of a professional video camera. I have modelled for Sabya before but those are still images; you don't really have to express yourself, in fact you have to be less emotive. My first audition was horrible; I thought I screwed it. I went home and told my mother that I don't think I'm going to get it. A couple of days later, I got a call telling me I had been shortlisted.

Tell us a little more about your character in the movie.

Satyavati comes from an aristocratic family and her uncle is a very influential politician. She's very level headed, rational, and intelligent and knows when to speak up and when to keep quiet. She's very proud and protective of her family. She can say whatever she wants about them, but if an outsider does so, they're in trouble.

Have you been modelling for a very long time?

Only for Sabya. In fact, he spotted me. That's the thing about him, he finds people; and when he puts them in places, they always seem to work.


As Satyavati, in a still from the film. 

What was it like working with Sushant Singh Rajput?

He's very intelligent. On one of the last days of the shoot, he sat with a pen and paper and started to describe how time travel would work if it could happen, the time warp and everything.

What is Dibakar Banerjee's style as a director?

Everytime I asked Dibakar what he thought about my performance, all he told me was, "Time will tell, people will decide, who am I to say anything". That's the sort of framework he works in; he doesn't judge his own work.

What sort of a relationship does Satyavati share with the film's eponymous lead, Byomkesh Bakshy (Sushant Singh Rajput)?

Satyavati is very protective of her family and what people might say about them, and Byomkesh is a cold-hearted and blunt character, who speaks his mind, so they clash. But he needs her cooperation and she needs his help, so they eventually get on the same page.

Did you go through a lot of training?
I got one month of training. For a non-actor, they crammed all the lessons in that one month. I was traumatized, I was happy, I was sad, all at the same time. It was as crazy as it could possibly get. I'm a very sentimental person. I cry for every little thing. Apparently, it works in the industry if you can cry at the snap of a finger. In fact, Dibakar is totally against the use of glycerin...so it all worked out well.

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! releases this Friday, April 3.





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