"Apu" actor Arjun regrets he couldn"t discuss role with Soumitra Chatterjee

  • | Sunday | 5th December, 2021

Kolkata, Dec 5 (PTI) Critically acclaimed actor Arjun Chakraborty, who essayed the role of Apu in Bengali film "Abhijatrik" (The wanderlust of Apu), on Sunday said he regrets that he did not get the chance to discuss the movie with late Soumitra Chatterjee who had immortalised the character in the third film of the Apu trilogy by Satyajit Ray.Made six decades after Ray directed Apur Sansar, "Abhijatrik" traces the journey of Apu with his son, taking off from where "Apur Sansar" (The world of Apu) ended."Apu, the character in Bibhuti Bhusan Bandyopadhyay’s famous novel series Pather Panchali and Aparajito, is an iconic character, previously played by Soumitra Chatterjee. But I took it as a challenge and tried to play Apu in my way with my director’s help and guidance," Arjun told PTI.The movie, made in black and white, is directed by young filmmaker Subhrajit Mitra and co-produced by Madhur Bhandarkar."Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to meet and speak with him about this film. I wanted to exchange notes with Soumitra jethu (uncle)," said Arjun whose brooding presence on screen as Apu has gained plaudits.Arjun said he can never get over from fact that he was not able to receive a "certificate of approval" from Soumitra Chatterjee, the legendary actor who had brought "Apu" to the audiences in the country and abroad in "Apur Sansar" (1959). Chatterjee died in November 2020 after a month-long battle with multiple ailments.The young actor, a known face in a string of Bengali hits such as "Durgeshgarer Guptodhan" and "Chirodini Tumi Je Amar" in recent times, said, "I always rely on the script and I did the same this time too. (Director) Subhrajit-da was very clear that he wanted me to be original and do it in my way. Moreover, he wrote a wonderful script. Following that, things were very easy for me." Arjun said he was keen to gauge the response of the general audience to the film, who have grown up watching Chatterjee"s portrayal of Apu in "Apur Sansar"."Abhijatrik" is currently running in theatres.Asked if he was afraid of comparison with Ray, director Subhrajit Mitra said, "Not really. I wanted to make the film in my own way. It is not humanly possible for anyone to cater to everyone"s taste." Pointing out that "Abhijatrik" was released on the birth centenary year of Ray, Mitra said, "The Ray family will definitely watch the film. Arjun is in touch with them. I would be honoured to get their reactions." The story is based on the concluding part of Bibhuti Bhusan Bandyopadhyay’s 1932 novel "Aparajito", which did not figure in the Apu trilogy."It is a tribute to the master filmmaker (Ray),” Mitra said.The director said Apu in this movie relives his childhood through the eyes of his son, visiting Benaras and his village Nischindipur.Speaking about recreating the 30s-40s era in 2019 when the shooting took place, Mitra said, “With the change in dialect and body language of the people, I had to do a lot of research to impart authenticity. We had to recreate everything to make it look like 1940s era, even the ghats of Benaras.” "Abhijatrik" has travelled to around 25 international film festivals in the past one year or so. PTI SUS NN NN

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