Director goes through police files about stage actor's death

Having gone through police files about the unnatural death of popular stage and film actor Keya Chakroborty in the 70's, eminent Bengali theatre personality - cum-director Debesh Chhattopadhyay says he did so to get some idea about the turn of events in the actor's life till her death for his film 'Natoker Moto', to be released next month.

PTI| Last Updated: Jul 09, 2015, 14:44 PM IST

Kolkata: Having gone through police files about the unnatural death of popular stage and film actor Keya Chakroborty in the 70's, eminent Bengali theatre personality - cum-director Debesh Chhattopadhyay says he did so to get some idea about the turn of events in the actor's life till her death for his film 'Natoker Moto', to be released next month.

In the film, I did not reproduce the events leading to Keya Chakroborty's death but there are undoutedly resemblances like her falling on water during a shoot and meeting a watery grave, the director told PTI.

"Look I won't christen Natoker Moto as a biopic It's more an attempt to look at truth in different ways, through different glasses and lenses, untinted glasses. Like am Akira Kuroswa work where no truth can be absolute truth," Debesh said.

My previous writings on Keya Chakrtborty for which I had poured over the files at the police headquarters in Lalbazar for days were used as some reference points in this film, he said.

"But if you ask whether'Kheya's' playwright husband (essayed by Saswata Chatterjee) in the film has similarities with a present day dramatist, I will say it can also be about any male playwright who has not been able to accord as much creative space to his wife as desired by her," Debesh said.

"It is more of a tale about the compromises forced on a woman actor across ages and countries," Debesh, who also cast Bratya Basu and actor-stage director Sujan Neel Mukherjee, in two pivotal roles, said.

"In some way Keya metamorphes into Bindoni Dasi who despite becoming Noti Binodini had faced exploitation of sorts in a male-controlled world of performers. It can be a universal tale involving Marlyn Monroe as well.

You can say Bratya's character has lots of similarity with theatre personality Ajitesh Bandyopadhyay, the founder of famed theatre group 'Nandikar' where Keya belonged to and it was he who mentored her. If you wish to capture the spirit of the group theatre movement of the 60s and 70s you have to retain those characters without whom any history of that saga would be incomplete," Debesh, who had directed Bratya in many plays, said.

For that very reason, references to cult theatre productions like Tin paysar pala , Bhalo Manush Antigone of the period came up in Natoker Moto with filming of the stage plays. About casting Paoli in the lead role, Debesh said, "her academician-stage actor character has layers and having done theatre at a very young age she had no problem to grapple with the mannerism of a stage actress."

"This was also the reason she bonded so well with three other actors having theatre background despite not having done theatre in recent years," he said.