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Detective Byomkesh Bakshy Updates: IN CINEMAS NOW! (Page 4)

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Posted: 22 January 2014 at 2:09am | IP Logged
Sushant is looking good as byomkeshBig smile All the Best to him for DBBThumbs Up
Looking forward to watch this movieEmbarrassed

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Posted: 22 January 2014 at 8:19am | IP Logged
Gah i am loving the new look!Thumbs Up Thanks for sharing Niki!! Hug
and orange juice instead of coffee YAYYY  sushant!! Star


Edited by luvsushita23 - 22 January 2014 at 8:16am
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Lovin all the pics and tidbits we are getting from the sets!!! 

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credit:bonne

The Quest for Old Calcutta

Express News Service Written by Dipti Nagpaul | January 13, 2014

Byomkesh Bakshi, director Dibakar Banerjee and his team try to piece together the missing fragments of the city as it was in the 1940s.

Research for the film involved gathering images of Calcutta from 1890s to 1950s.
Research for the film involved gathering images of Calcutta from 1890s to 1950s.

A worn wooden door opened into a narrow passageway. Past a green lattice door, in a room smelling of cheap booze, groups of men sat huddled over a dozen or so tables, smoking and sipping alcohol from chai glasses. All their attention was on the green-and-white chips laid out in front and the engrossing game of mahjong. The presence of a film crew in their midst was no distraction. Beyond the cloud of smoke that hung above the tables, the crew was in an animated discussion. Unhappy with the entrance and the minimal source of light, they left quickly. Back on the streets of Chinatown, Kolkata, director Dibakar Banerjee and his crew had two more "Chinese churches" to visit before sunset.

With 86 scene locations in the script, a chunk of which had to be shot in real spaces, the recce for Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, was proving to be a challenge. The team spent close to three weeks in Kolkata, from mid-October to early November last year. Sometimes, their search took them outside the city.

"Saradindu Bandopadhyay's Byomkesh Bakshi series is mostly set in Calcutta of the 1940s, a rather tumultuous time for the city," said Banerjee, a cotton gamchha flung over his T-shirt. Calcutta, an important port during the Second World War, was teeming with American soldiers. "The GIs would often emerge from the houses they had taken over to sell cigarettes and other knick-knacks to students or to interact with the locals. Meanwhile, all the big leaders of the Quit India Movement were in jail and infighting between political parties had begun," said the director, who was fairly familiar with the city.

Most days for the team began at 8 am when they filed out of their rooms at a service apartment in Ballygunge, tired and sleepy from the previous day's field trip, and piled into waiting cars. Some of them were Banerjee's long-time collaborators, such as production designer Vandana Kalra and cinematographer Nikos Andritsakis, while a few were new " executive producers Smriti Jain and Gaurav Mishra, first assistant director Chetana Kowshik, and associate creative producer Vikas Chandra, who researched extensively for the film.

On route to Metiabruz, a distant suburb of the city along the banks of the Hooghly, Banerjee spoke about how he wanted to evoke that era through architecture and visual props, rather than burden the script with historical detail. It was a decision that is influenced by the way Bandopadhyay cast Calcutta in the stories. "They offer a scintillating view of the past but only in touches. The author allows the topicality to seep in but doesn't let it become the story. For instance, the stories are set in a time when the GIs had left the city, and the contraband market flourished, with the surplus rifles and bullets leading to an increase in murders," he said.

But since Bandopadhyay provided only threadbare details, there are no descriptions to borrow from while adapting for the screen. The GIs who flooded the city in the '40s offered a solution. A key source in Chandra's research were the photographs taken by the soldiers during their stay in Calcutta. A rich archive of images taken by Glenn Hensley and Clyde Waddell is available at the Victoria Memorial museum, and the University of Pennsylvania library, among other places. "They offered a glimpse into the daily lives of people then, the British Tommies, the Chinese, the middle- and upper-class Bengalis and the villagers who poured into the city during the famine of 1943," said Chandra. After looking at a variety of images, the team also consulted historians and archivists to arrive at a visual timeline of the city. "There were hardly any women on the streets then; if you saw any, it was understood that they came from the more progressive Brahmo families," Chandra said.

As they soon realised, to set the scene for the film, Banerjee's team would have to turn into detectives. From the clues in Bandopadhyay's text, they had to rebuild the scene almost 85 years later in a city that had changed drastically. Not just the landscape, the names of streets and neighbourhoods had changed. "We spent a long time trying to look for a boarding house that would fit the description of the one on Harrison Street where Byomkesh lived during his college years. Then, one day, we received a call from the second-generation executor of Saradindu's works, saying that he had found it. Having known the author personally, he had tracked down the boarding house on Harrison Street, where Saradindu lived and it exactly matches the one in the text," said Banerjee.
The crew also visited Vidyasagar College on Kali Bari Road in north Kolkata, where Bandhopadhyay studied. Byomkesh goes to a college closely modelled on the author's alma mater. The four-storied building, though, looked rather new. Though it did fill out a few details for the production design team, Banerjee ended up rejecting it as a possible location.

In Byomkesh's college life, Banerjee also found the anchor for the story he was seeking. A young man of 23, Byomkesh is unsure about himself and what he wants to do " it is an aspect that Banerjee could relate to and one that helped him craft the narrative. It made him look at Byomkesh beyond the stereotype of a detective and view him as a character. "Detective is what he does but who he is adds to how he does it. Is he shy and hesitant? Or confident and a show-off? These aspects will make him relatable to the audience as the film will also be Byomkesh's coming-of-age story," said the 44-year-old director.

To do so, it was important, Banerjee said, to shed the baggage of nostalgia that most period subjects come with. Rather than a rose-tinted view of rajbaris and beautiful Bengali women, the film is about a young man exposed to the crime and desolation rampant on the streets of Calcutta in the 1940s. The filter they needed to use was noir. "Traditional noir films were made around the time of WWII and were either pulp literature or detective stories. They emerged from the sense that the world wasn't such a great place; they were essentially pessimistic. They were based on the Oedipus tale, where the hero, while trying to resolve a problem, becomes a part of it without realising it.


In the process, he faces his first fear and re-experiences his traumatic past," said Andritsakis, who said he would use camera techniques of classic noir films for Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! Through Banerjee's detailed discussions with Andritsakis during the recce, followed by extensive storyboarding, a template for the film's lighting and angles emerged. The Greek cinematographer, who worked with Banerjee in both Love Sex Aur Dhokha and Shanghai, said, "Noir films are usually set in a gritty and transitional environment where different kinds of people are pushing their own agendas so the play of light and shadows is used to good effect. We can do the same with this film and allow the viewers to experience the same fear that Byomkesh is going through."

An old jute mill by the Hooghly, dating back to the 1920s, functions as a godown. The massive facade, with a bevy of trucks parked in the front, barely revealed the view that lay beyond. A walk down the grassy path brought one to the river. The two banks were like mirror images, an old-fashioned nauka with jute sails drifting in between. The location seemed perfect for the scene Banerjee had in mind " till he sat down on the ledge with his sketchbook and charted out the shots. Soon, the team realised that lighting would be better on the opposite bank. The fence along the river as well as the wall between the two wings of the factory would have to be brought down for the duration of the shoot and then rebuilt.

Hunting for locations turned out to be rigorous. Every possible location the crew came across or heard about had to be checked out later. The storyboarding of scenes at each possible location led to an animated deconstruction of its pros and cons, a time-consuming process. For every lead the crew found, there were an equal number of setbacks. At Saheb Kuthi ghat, the team arrived, prepared to storyboard, only to realise that it was high tide and the spot they wished to use as the entry point for a scene was under water.

At lunch in restaurants, even as they dug into authentic Bengali fare, the director was on the look out for "interesting" faces " lay people who Banerjee felt may make good secondary characters. Photographs were clicked and numbers exchanged. The diners, partly star-struck and partly flattered, were only too glad to oblige. Who wouldn't want to share the screen with detective Byomkesh Bakshi?

(The shoot for the film began last week.)

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Piyatrix

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Posted: 22 January 2014 at 8:24am | IP Logged
The only problem is that he is hardly looking a Bengali..And after going through some comments..I too completely agree that someone who has seen Aabir Chatterjee as Byomkesh..It will be difficult to accept someone else to fit into that picture..

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