It was just after the “Charulata” credits rolled off the screen, the auteur appeared and said hello. What do you know? He was his usual rational self. The quick chat is reproduced word for word:
Sir, what have you observed about modern-day, first-time viewers of your films?
They’re curious after someone uploads a clip on YouTube and word spreads. They realise the core of these stories is relevant beyond the time they were set in, and they get a hang of my work. The scale of my efforts surprises them. Adult readers can’t believe they can laugh while reading my children’s stories and find themselves in tears, while watching “Pather Panchali”.
Is a modern Charulata possible?
I have thought about it often. Maybe an older Charu, a feature writer in Kolkata, a proclaimed feminist, and someone who is still living in with her boyfriend despite his desire to get married. She is drawn to his younger brother, a social media junkie, who exploits her feelings wilfully. She endures the tyranny and then one day tweets something that goes viral.
Can Jatayu be recreated?
That’s tough. I won’t speculate but I did toy with the idea of a senile cartoonist, who cannot use the internet and meets young Feluda, and the two become friends because Feluda still employs old-world detection methods like listening and observing.
Any contemporary Indian novel in English that you’d like to direct?
I was done with sagas post Apu-trilogy.
What do you think about today’s Bengali movies?
I watch them with English subtitles because those, I believe, are crisper and fluent.