Conjuring up Mamata 'Didi' in a slick flick

Beyond populism

Local stage artist Ruma Chakraborty assumes the name of Maya Banerjee.

A Bengali film director, apparently a die-hard Banerjee fan, has undertaken the onerous task of converting the Trinamool Congress leader’s real life into reel in a Bengali flick “Didi.”

Bidyut Sarkar, a businessman-turned-director, is debutting the two-hour-long film on the mercurial leader where her arch rival chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee will also be cast in a parody––Subhodev Bhattacherjee.

The film, where Banerjee’s lookalike and local stage artist Ruma Chakraborty assumes the name of Maya Banerjee, spans around 40 years, seeking to trace Mamata’s life from the early 1970s to the 2011 state assembly polls.

But why a film on Mamata ? Sarkar was pretty candid in his confession: “I wanted to do a political film and Didi’s (Mamata Banerjee) character impressed me a lot. Actually, I am a big fan of hers. That’s why I came up with this story. It was a novel earlier, but my friends insisted on converting it into a film. The film’s title is obviously taken straight from the leaf of her political life.”

The story, according to Sarkar, has to have the “required stuff” to enable it to run on a commercial platform even though it contains all the “hot political pot-boilings”, starting from Sainbadi, Suchpur, Keshpur, Singur, Nandigram, Kolkata and her 26-day-old fast.  “I mean everything,” he added. The shooting has already begun and the director hopes to complete the same by the end of January. “I’m pegging its commercial release sometime in early February, just ahead of the polls,” said Sarkar. But what, if the film violates the model code of conduct ?

“Well, I’ve taken adequate precaution in the script and sought due clearances from the authorities concerned in this regard. There won’t be any hitch,” the director exuded confidence. For Chakraborty, it seems to be a major break in celluloid. Having watched Mamata in action from close quarters, she felt she could easily breathe life into the character.

“I was very excited when I got the offer to play this character of Mamata Banerjee. She is very famous. Even a two-year-old child knows who she is. The director also advised me to closely study how she speaks, her mannerisms. I started viewing news channels and have attended some of her party rallies as well,” she said.

Interestingly, two plays were staged in recent times –– Jananeta Comrade Jyoti Basu or Amar Jyoti (Immortal Jyoti) –– on the Marxist patriarch, but both of them failed to click as they highlighted Basu’s leading  role as a reformer and did not touch current controversies.

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