Homosexuality is a very challenging subject. What made you choose it?
I always choose very challenging subjects for my telefilms and feature films. Some years back, I did a tele-film called Ushno-taar Jonno (For Warmth) that dealt with two women who fell in love and lived together till one of them, who was bisexual, married and moved away. The television audience accepted the film and some even liked it a lot. So, I felt, why not a full-length feature film on the same subject of alternate sexuality?
“Rituparno has a sensitive approach towards people with homosexual orientation.”
That’s right. I am specially intrigued by what goes on in the mind of a man who speaks and behaves like a woman. Just because his behaviour is against social norms that dictate how a man should behave, anything different is either made fun of or not tolerated in other ways. How does a man with these traits cope with mainstream society? There is a deep sense of pain that comes through alienation and imposed loneliness. It is not just homosexuality and gay relationships I am dealing with.
And you have chosen Rituparno Ghosh for this character which will also be his first role in front of the camera?
Yes, I chose Ritu-da to portray one of the two main characters. The other one, who is bisexual and married, is yet to be decided. Ritu-da plays a film director and his cameraman is his lover. But the character I have written is not modelled on Ritu-da nor is it inspired by him. One member of my team belonged to the third gender. But he died young and when he died, I suddenly realized that he had died more out of loneliness than of any other cause. That had set me thinking. Ritu-da was at first hesitant but then he came back and said he would do the role. I was thrilled because I am convinced he will be able to enact very well.
What is the film all about?
Basically, it is a love story between a filmmaker and his cinematographer. In my opinion, a gay love story should not be different from a normal love story between a man and a woman. And that is what I intend to highlight in this film. I want to show how they express their love and their passion aesthetically, without making anything seem crude or coarse. The character, called Neel, is not embarrassed about his sexual orientation or his slightly effeminate behaviour. He has an androgynous look but does not put on kajal or lipstick or bindis like some people do. I do not wish to portray a gay character in a way that every gay seems trapped in an effeminate identity.
Have you chosen Rituparno because of his effeminate demeanor behaviour and his way of dressing and speaking?
Not at all. I have chosen him because he will be able to understand the minute psychological, physical and social nuances of the character the best. I have chosen him because of his sensitive approach towards people with homosexual orientation. He is the best person for me to share my feelings with. I am not going to typecast him as an effeminate character at all. Rather, he will have to change the way he talks and walks for the sake of the character.
Who are the other actors you have chosen?
Raima Sen has agreed to play a researcher while Churni, my wife, will portray the cameraman’s wife.