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Interview Bengali

Mainak Bhaumik is not bothered by industry trends once he decides to make a film

“I just took a detour from the kind of films I was making, pertaining to relationships, drama, people of this generation, and so on... and I am quite enjoying it," the filmmaker said.

Roushni Sarkar

Filmmaker Mainak Bhaumik is all set with his first detective film Goyenda Junior, which is slated for release on 20 September. Featuring Rwitobroto Mukherjee as the protagonist, Goyenda Junior also stars Santilal Mukherjee, Pushan Dasgupta and Anusha Viswanathan.

Known for making rom coms and dramas, Bhaumik’s first thriller Bornoporichoy, featuring Abir Chatterjee and Jisshu Sengupta, was released in July. Speaking to Cinestaan.com about his first detective film, Bhaumik said, “I just took a detour from the kind of films I was making, pertaining to relationships, drama, people of this generation, and so on. Getting into the thriller zone is a kind of detour I always wanted to take and I am quite enjoying it."

Goyenda Junior has more or less the same cast as Bhaumik’s teenage drama Generation Aami (2018). Bhaumik said that film’s success inspired him to continue with a teenage protagonist. "Goyenda Junior is not only a detective film, but the making of a detective," the director explained. "It is about a 16-year-old. You will get to know about his journey, his problems, his friends. All these contribute to the making of a detective story. It is sort of a two-fold film, not a straight-up detective story.”

The director agreed that one of the reasons he chose Rwitobroto Mukherjee as the protagonist was because he wanted to continue with a teenager’s saga. “He was more confident this time than he was in Generation Aami," Bhaumik said. "I have also got to know what to expect from him as a director, learned about his strengths and weaknesses more. When I was writing the script, I was also prepared to go ahead with him in mind. The more confident he is, the more relaxed I am.”

Bhaumik said he is concentrating on working with Rwitobroto as a team and only makes sure he does not get out of the character.

The director also said he had found a group of friends with the cast of Generation Aami and Goyenda Junior, including Rwitobroto, Dasgupta and Anusha, with whom he can share his thoughts. “I think I do not fit into my age group. I have sort of formed a family with them,” he said.

In 2014, Bhaumik took a peek into his book shelf and was browsing through Pandav Goenda, a popular series about a fictional detective gang created by novelist Shaktipada Chattopadhyay, and wondered if it could be adapted to the modern era. "I had got all the rights, but the issue was that a lot of changes needed to be made to adapt a series based in the 1980s," he explained. "But the idea of doing a work on teen detectives and their adventures stuck with me.”

Goyenda Junior happens to be the culmination of that idea. It is also the result of Bhaumik being unable to adapt Pandav Goenda into the contemporary era. Bhaumik said he began writing the story of Goyenda Junior only after Generation Aami was released last year.

In recent times, thrillers and detective stories have become a trend in Bengali cinema that almost every other director is pursuing. This year, before Bhaumik’s Bornoporichoy, there have been films such as Srijit Mukherji’s Vinci Da, Sudeshna Roy and Abhijit Guha’s Samsara, and Pratim D Gupta’s Shantilal O Projapoti Rohoshyo. But Bhaumik believes that since his detective is not from literature, like Feluda or Byomkesh, and the story traces the journey of a teenager becoming a detective, it will appeal to the audience.

“There was no dearth of superheroes in Marvel Comics, yet the character of Black Panther was launched and went on to achieve popularity," the director pointed out. "If people like my story, then they will like it for its individual appeal, not because of any external conditions relating to the abundance of detectives or the dearth of it.”

Bhaumik also pointed out that many directors have been making detective films for a while now. “For me it is a welcome change because I was doing certain kinds of dramas and rom coms the last few years. I wanted to do something different and it turns out that a lot of other Bengali directors are also into the same field. But when I am determined to work on something, I am not really bothered what the rest of the industry or the fraternity is doing,” the director said.

On a different note, Bhaumik never imagined himself as a detective; rather he envisages parents donning the role of detectives. According to him, parents pry into every little detail of their children's lives and literally play whodunnits and whydunnits. “I wanted to translate this idea into the film as well. Besides, yes, I was always a fan of detective stories and would read all kinds of books that are part of Bengali literature.”

Though his film narrates the journey of a teenager, Bhaumik feels the audience of any age group will be able to relate with it. “If you are 10 you will find Bikram’s journey aspirational. If you are 40, then you have already been through Bikram’s journey. I think audiences of any age group will identify with the story at some level.”

Bhaumik confessed that he is not a fan of franchises; but if he finds a better story, he will definitely pursue it in the future.