He started off as an ad filmmaker and in his career spanning 16 years he has done ad-films for Philips, Britannia and many other brands. Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury, known as Tony in the industry, finally turns to directing his first feature film Anuraanan and in the Bengali language. IndiaFM interacts with the filmmaker.
Being an ad film-maker was it a natural progression for you to move into films?
When I was young I used to watch movies like Sound of Music, Roman Holiday, Haathi Mere Saathi, etc. It was since then that I wanted to make films. I wanted to learn how to make a film. My thinking was that a man would stand behind the camera and create the film. When I grew up I was into theatre. In India, you have to sustain to earn a living. Fortunately I got into ad film-making and hence was able to pay my bills. The concept of film-making was always there with me but I waited for the right opportunity when I could fund and start my own film.
Anuranaan means resonance. What resonance are you talking about in this film?
We are talking of resonance of human-beings. We are talking about spaces between human-beings. We are talking about freedom of human-beings. We are talking about resonance between me and a tree, between me and a mountain.
It is a very urban story and the story of two couples. When we get married we tell people that I am only with my wife but I don't resonate with other people. We may be lying. But in a proper marriage where there is trust, there is space. If I am married I can resonate with another woman but that doesn't mean sex. Our film talks of that space, that relationship.
Rahul Bose, Raima Sen, Rituparna Sengupta are all Bengali actors. So were they the obvious choice for the Bengali film?
When I started writing the script, Rahul Bose came into my mind. I thought he would be able to carry on this role. He is an architect from London. He has a lot of human characteristics. In my film, Rahul's name is Rahul because he was the only person I could think of. I had heard that he demands a lot of changes in the script but he immediately agreed to do my film. That's resonance. If there is resonance in your own team then it makes life so much easier.
When I approached Rituparna for the film, I got a very positive vibe from her and she agreed instantly.
As for Raima, I initially approached somebody else but that person could not give me the time. But then Raima fit the bill perfectly.
Even for Rajat's (Kapoor) role I approached somebody else but he didn't do it. That person didn't like my story. I went to Mumbai and approached another actor and almost finalized him. But then Rahul told me to meet Rajat. Rajat said that this role will only be enacted by himself. It's an energy, it's a vibe.
Rajat not being Bengali must have been difficult for him to pick up the language.
No, not at all. He is an actor, a director and an intelligent person. Cinema has got its own language. He learnt his lines easily. He is a terrific, natural actor. Even my cameraman Sunil Patel is not a Bengali. He understood all the nuances of my film. One of my music directors Ashish Rego is not a Bengali. Resonance can happen anywhere. You don't have to be a Bengali to resonate. Resonance can happen between a Bengali and a Maharashtrian, a Marvadi and a Bengali, etc. it just happens, you can't make it happen.
What made you shoot in London? A Bengali film has never been shot there.
It's the story. London is not my USP, rather it is the story. The story demanded that the guy lived far away from his roots. When I go abroad, I miss Kolkota very much. If I'm in Mumbai then I can't miss it because it is not so far away. I have so many successful doctor friends who were in London but came back to Kolkota because they wanted to come back to their roots. The same thing happens to Rahul and Rituparna in the film. They reside in London but always at the back of their mind, their root calls them. That is why we selected London. We needed a space which was far away from Kolkota.