Released at the International Film Festival of India in 2006 to critical acclaim, the Bengali film went on to have a dream run of three months at theatres in Bengal. “Then Shemaroo expressed interest and Anuranan was dubbed in Hindi and released all over India,” says Chowdhury, beaming with pride. The other marketing move was releasing the film with English subtitles. “The triumph at home also included rave reviews at last year's MAMI festival,” informs Chowdhury. On the global front, Anuranan is slated for release in the US on February 1, while talks are on for a commercial release in the UK.
For Chowdhury, Anuranan is a personal journey, replete with experiences drawn from his own life. “I had lived with the script for a good eight years, and the film took about two years to come alive on screen. It was like finally seeing love attaining fruition,” said the ad filmmaker-turned-film director, who had also dabbled in theatre early on.
As with all ‘meaningful films’, relationships form the core of Anuranan with a cast of ‘thinking actors’, including Rahul Bose, Rajat Kapoor and Rituparna Sengupta. “When Bose heard the story, he took only 10 minutes to say yes. He recommended Kapoor’s name for the other powerful character,” says Chowdhury, who worked on a budget of Rs 1.5 crore.
The film was shot in London, Sikkim and Kolkata. “We had to capture the sunrise at Kanchenjunga for which we had to negotiate a steep climb in an obscure place in Sikkim, and in near-darkness. Surprisingly, everyone lived up to the challenge with Bose taking the lead in the ascent,” Chowdhury said.
“Kanchenjunga, the peak, becomes a character in the film, but it's different from what Satyajit Ray had done in his masterpiece Kanchenjunga,” says the director, while acknowledging the tremendous influence Ray still has on Indian cinema. For him, good cinema can be any film that entertains the audience and also looks into the commercial aspect of filmmaking. “I particularly like Mani Ratnam for the way he fuses aesthetics with commerce,” he said.
Currently, the Kolkata-based Chowdhury, is ready with the script of his second Bengali film, a love story with a crime twist, the shooting for which will start in April.