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Sraboner Dhara humanizes Alzheimer's and its consequences: Parambrata Chatterjee

Actor-director Parambrata Chatterjee was also thrilled to be able to spend more time with screen legend Soumitra Chatterjee.

Roushni Sarkar

Sudeshna Guha and Abhijit Roy’s Sraboner Dhara, out in theatres today, revolves around an Alzheimer's patient, played by Soumitra Chatterjee, and weaves a narrative of the challenges that accompany the age-related ailment.

The film, which also stars Parambrata Chatterjee, Gargee Roy Chowdhury and Basab Dutta Chatterjee, was shot a year and a half ago when Parambrata was working on other films as well.

“It was difficult for me to make decisions on the schedule of the film, but when I read the script, I knew I had to be part of it, no matter how busy I was,” said the actor-turned-director at the launch of the film's trailer last month.

Chatterjee, who plays neurosurgeon Nilabha Roy in Sraboner Dhara, said he has seen the effects of Alzheimer's from close quarters in his own family. "I think this film will be able to show the extent of helplessness Alzheimer's takes its patients to,” he said, adding that Dr Subhendu Sen came up with the concept for the film and screenwriter Padmanabha Dasgupta then developed the script.

According to Chatterjee, the film primarily speaks of humanity. “This is a film of deep sensitivity and would, perhaps, require the audience’s calm attention rather than excitement. I believe it would lead them to realizations on multiple levels.”

In the film, Soumitra Chatterjee's character is under the care of Parambrata's Dr Roy who in turn gets affected by the former's relationship with his wife, played by Roy Chowdhury.

“A doctor needs to be sensitive to treat such ailments," Parambrata said. "However, in the process of being sensitive towards the patient, one often forgets to pay attention to one’s own complexities. This conflict has been predominantly addressed in the film. As Nilabha observes the patient and his wife’s equation, he finds doors in his own life opening one by one.”

The doctor doesn’t just treat the patient but is placed in a position of mutual exchange with the old man and his wife and, perhaps, he too gets treated, the popular actor explained.

“I enjoyed working in this film," he said. "Though the script was developed on Alzheimer's, it does not deal too much with the medical aspects of the ailment but attempts to humanize the consequences.”

He also tried to allay movie-goers' fears that the film would be difficult to understand, more so because it has done the rounds of festivals. “I don’t think festival films are not meant for the masses," he said. "Rather these films are getting appreciated a lot more by the people.”

Speaking about his character, he said, “When I first read the script, I thought it would be quite easy for me; however, it was not so. But I enjoyed performing the role. As I was shooting for another film then, for which I had to shave off my moustache, I look way too young here. But I think I have been able to compensate for the lack of seriousness in my appearance with my performance and dedication.”

Parambrata was grateful to the director duo for giving him another opportunity to spend time with screen legend Soumitra, whose biopic he is set to direct. “It was a privilege for me that I could act with him in such an intimate space and learn from him," the younger star said. "He loves to have adda [conversation] sessions like a child and it was great fun to be able to talk to him about so many issues.”

While the two actors have worked together in the past, Parambrata said he was happy with the bond they created on screen in this film. "With each passing year, he is opening up more and enjoying his work wholeheartedly," he said of Soumitra. "It is delightful the way he not only tells stories of his time, the golden era of Bengali cinema, but also analyzes the period.”