A winner of the Young Achiever Award from Rotary International, the prestigious Shera Bangali Award from ABP Anando and the Shoilojanando Mukhopadhyay Memorial Award in 2012 for his contribution in the field of film direction, Mukherji is going to make his directorial debut in Bollywood with the film Begum Jaan. Vidya Balan plays the lead role of a brothel’s madam during the partition of India in 1947.
Speaking about the event and introducing Mukherji, Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee said, “He is one of the most sought-after filmmakers in the country today and is an old school friend. His films have been criticised mercilessly and also appreciated internationally. Srijit Mukherji shall share his craft and times, this edition of Conversations.”
Speaking at the event Srijit Mukherji elaborated on how he forayed into Bollywood. “I started at theatre and then went on to direct films for Bengali cinema. I wanted to reach a wider audience and my greed to tell more stories took me to Bollywood. Work on Begum Jaan is underway. The film happened suddenly. I had gone to Bombay to check the subtitles for Raj Kahini. Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt happened to see the film and was left shaken and in tears. He told me to make the film in Hindi and that’s how Begum Jaan happened,” he said.
The freewheeling conversation further touched upon Srijit’s appreciation for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s cinema, Rituparno Ghosh’s cinema and the importance of narrative among Bengali filmmakers. “Bengali cinema is in very safe hands. Like Marathi cinema and Malayalam cinema, Bengali cinema has a separate identity where directors are much respected. In fact, Bengali filmmakers in Bollywood are doing very well as they are content-driven,” he added.
On his upcoming projects, Srijit said he is in talks with producers in Bollywood to remake Hemlock Society in Hindi. Hindi remakes of other films Chotushkone and Nati Binodini are also in the offing.
The evening saw celebrated personalities from all walks of life in attendance for Conversations including Actor Moubani Sorcar, Dr. Mousumi Ghosh, Founder/Director – Future Media School, author Sreemoyee Piu Kundu, Nandita Raja of Kanishka’s, and singer Lagnajita Chakraborty among others.
The Palms Restaurant acted as a wonderful host, serving an array of edibles including their special Chicken Makhani Kebabs and Vegetable Wontons.
About The Palms Restaurant
Conceptualised by Priyadarshini Dey and started on 19th October, 2015, The Palms Restaurant is synonymous with authentic North Indian and Oriental cuisine in Kolkata. Nestled in Southern Avenue at 1st Floor, 19A, Meghnad Saha Sarani, Southern Avenue, the place is easily accessible from all directions and offers comfortable seating to 70 guests.
About Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee
Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee is an inter-disciplinary artiste who regularly works on gender-sexuality identities and choices. He has been a talk-show host of Chatterly for a very successful season on TV South Asia. He has also hosted a live chat show called Just My Way, the city’s first live chat show. He is a curator of India’s only solo arts festival Monologues and has also acted in feature films Belashese, Jogajog etc. Conversations is his new collaborative with The Palms Restaurant to create a space for exchange of ideas and hearts.
About the Guest
Srijit Mukherji is an Indian film director, actor, and screenwriter whose first feature film was Autograph (2010) which was a critical and commercial success. His other films include Baishe Srabon, Hemlock Society, Mishawr Rahoshyo, Jaatishwar, Chotushkone, Nirbaak and Rajkahini. His films have mostly garnered positive reviews from critics, and great audience response.