When did you begin the initial preparations for Balighor?
About a year ago, actually. Years back I had read the novel Dheu Ashe Dheu Jay by Suchitra Bhattacharya and was enthralled at how perfect the story was for a joint venture film. Actors from both Bangladesh and India could truly make such a story come to life, and with this small intention, we moved forward.
Recently, there have been controversies surrounding the joint venture scene in Bangladesh. Amidst that, you have decided to put forward a new joint production film. Are you expecting to face any problems regarding that?
Even though Balighor is a joint production film, 95% of the shooting will be done in Bangladesh, which is something to note. I think when two countries are working on a film, healthy thinking and honesty should be there; otherwise it's a recipe for disaster. And since Bangladesh and India are working together to create this film of international standards, we have the same message to portray. Thus, the boundary between the nations is blurred and we are able to exist in a unified range of thoughts, something which I think we constantly try to deny. This is why an organization like Bengal Creations was needed; they are able to show the best of both the nations and allow us to dream for a better future.
Are there any personal reasons behind wanting to create Balighor as a joint production film?
I wanted to work on Balighor in a joint venture setting not only because we have the same language, but because we have the same culture as well. We have similarities in personalities, emotions and habits, and we cry and laugh using the same words. Balighor's story is based on relationships, so I think if we can portray the emotions effectively, we will be successful in creating a good film.
Do you have any particular reason behind choosing the cast?
Even though Arifin Shuvoo mostly does commercial films, I believe he will be a very good fit for this film. Both him and Tisha (Nusrat Imrose Tisha) are high-class actors and should perform excellently. I have high hopes for Nawshaba (Quazi Nawshaba Ahmed) as well. The cast I have selected from Kolkata are all good actors too.
Did you initially plan to work with these Bangladeshi actors?
To be honest, no; and I say that with utmost respect. After I had watched Arifin Shuvoo in action, I contacted him and talked to him for a while. In just thirty minutes my mind was set: no one else but Shuvoo could play the role of Modhumoy.
What do you think of the lack of audience in Bangladeshi cinema halls?
See it in this way: the number of cinema halls in Bangladesh is quite low. But there's a benefit from this disadvantage: there are Bangalis all over the world! If you combine all the Bangalis in the world, we are the fifth highest in number, and considering that alone, the market is tremendous! We must aim to appeal to that large number of audience and strive to create better films for everyone.
Interviewed by Zahid Akbar