Joy Ganguly: Crossing boundaries & breaking norms
Cooling his heels after a heart-warming response for his national award winner NAGARKIRTAN at IFFI, Goa 2018, indie filmmaker Joy Ganguly is upbeat about the changing preferences of the audience and the growing reach of the digital platform. Sensing a wider acceptance and an opportunity to explore beyond regional Bengali cinema, Joy Ganguly known for NAGARKIRTAN (2018), THE BONG CONNECTION (2006), MAACHER JHOL (2017) and eleven more movies including a Hindi VIA DARJEELING (2008) gets candid in an interview with us. The filmmaker, who left his good job to follow his dreams, speaks about his future plans and how he wishes to spread his wings beyond regional and turn global with his forthcoming projects and more.
Four national awards for NAGARKIRTAN and now the appreciation at IFFI, Goa 2018, has your confidence to cross the boundaries and explore got the required boost?
Yes, NAGARKIRTAN got an overwhelming response at IFFI, Goa. We are more confident that this particular content will not deter the audience from coming to the theaters once the film releases.
So you are planning a pan India release of NAGARKIRTAN?, has the new law on LGBT community also played a part?
The new law has removed certain fears but primarily in my opinion as a filmmaker and audience in general, NAGARKIRTAN is a story between two human begins, Kaushik Ganguly has brilliantly painted the universal truth that confronts the known mindset, while focusing on the experience of an invisible community, rarely portrayed in the arena of Indian mainstream cinema. The hidden lives and traumas of the Transgender/ Hijra/ Intersex/ gender non-conforming communities is explored in the movie that stars Riddhi Sen as Parimal, a boy from rural Bengal and Ritwick Chakraborty as Madhu, a flute player from the Kirtaniya town of Nabadweep. We are planning to release the movie in 2019 with more hope and confidence.
What makes you so confident about the so called art house NAGARKIRTAN?
We don’t make those typical ‘art house’, my films are also mainstream but with more sensibility and sensibility having a universal acceptance. In NAGARKIRTAN we have made a pious attempt to explain the concept of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Ardhanarishvara where we say every male has traits of female and vice versa, the one which is in abundance becomes the identity of that sex.
Why the need to enter Bollywood?
Yeah, Bollywood is the word known outside India for Indian cinema. Whenever I have introduced myself to people outside India, Bollywood is the term used for an Indian film or a filmmaker. You have to explain them that Indian cinema is not just Bollywood, its Marathi, Bengali, Tamil etc. As a filmmaker, I would love to explore my ideas, films to a wider audience and just not get restricted to Bengali market. Bollywood has more reach, bigger market.
What are the plans?
We have made an entry with the web series THE BIG BONG CONNECTION: it’s already live on Sony Liv since November 27, 2018. It’s a cosmopolitan concoction of dreams, passion, cultural nuances and confusions. I call it as a mainstream urban movie, its mad, stoner, fun film targeted towards the smart phone generations. A Hindi movie with Shashanka Ghosh titled ‘THE BETTLENUT KILLERS’, a web series with Viacom. Detail announcements will be made in due course.