Hailed for giving a new dimension to the Bengali crime-thriller movies, Arindam Sil is a versatile actor-turned-director from Kolkata. Of late, he has decided to try his mettle in the joint-venture initiative by producing a film named ‘Balighor’ in association with Bengal Creations from Bangladesh.
A man who is equally admired and adored here in Bangladesh recently opened his heart to Groove with a view to sharing his views on different issues related to the overall growth of both the film industries (Dhallywood & Tollywood) and many more:
You got a chance to pursue higher studies in the USA. Instead of going there you preferred to be an actor. Where did such passion for acting come from?
Since my childhood I used to read a lot of books and watch movies. However before leaving for U.S. I acted for the first time. My first experience of acting is comparable to the feeling that a tiger gets when it discovers the taste of blood for the first time. Just like a tiger cannot keep itself away from blood after its first prey I could not also avoid my infatuation with acting. From there onwards I never looked back for anything else other than acting.
How was your transition from acting to directorial venture? Did you face any challenge?
After five years people are still talking about my first film ‘Aborto’. So, now I feel that I was not wrong. Well, at the beginning some people tried to discourage me by saying I was doing well in acting, so it wasn’t necessary to try my luck in direction. Well, there were some others as well who encouraged me and put their faith on me. My wife Shukla was one of them who supported me during those tough times tremendously and my friend Kaushik Ganguly was there as my strength as well. I faced a lot of obstacles initially and that’s why I had to take some risks. For instance- for my first film I borrowed money on high interest and spent my savings at the same time. Those initial days were not easy. However when even after five years I see people talking about my first film, I feel that my hard work has paid off.
Many people praise you as a crime-thriller master. Do you have any plan to prove them wrong by showing your dexterity in other genres as well?
The claim that I mostly make crime-thriller movies is not right because my first film ‘Aborto’ was not a crime thriller. Even my much talked-about film ‘Dhananjay’ was not of that genre. So, I have already made films other than suspense thriller and those have been appreciated. The story of my one film differs significantly from other one. Actually I often try to depict our socio-economic and moral situation in my films and strive hard to convey social messages to the audience through my films.
Some artists working in the Bangladeshi film industry have developed some kind of anti-joint-venture feelings. What is the situation in your industry? Is it same or different?
No, actors working in the West Bengal don’t have such feelings. Meanwhile it is mentionable that such feelings cherished by Bangladeshi artists are very justified because many producers from our part has flouted rules for making joint-venture films and took undue advantage of the facility for doing brisk business overlooking the necessity of making a quality film. The aim of such facility should be to make such films that will work in favour of both the film industries and consequently such practice will help in the overall growth of both the industries. And the directors like me who are working honestly want to prove it that this initiative is not a bad idea at all. Well, this time the film we are going to make will follow all the rules of joint-venture films properly and to the point. Even most of the shooting (90 percent) of my film will be completed in Bangladesh (Cox’s Bazaar and Dhaka) and only ten percent shooting will be done in Kolkata.
What kind of roles joint venture films can play in the greater welfare of the film industries of both parts of Bengal?
This initiative can contribute significantly. Joint-venture initiatives can heighten the standard of movies and most importantly it can contribute in the collective growth of both the industries.
What is your observation about Bangladeshi film industry?
The young actors are doing very well in this industry and they should be nourished and provided with the right opportunity and guidance so that they can excel more and more. It must be mentioned that the standard of Bangladeshi films is increasing and it will keep improving in the next few years. But concerned people related to the industry should take care of one thing – the number of cineplexes (only two) or good cinema halls are very limited in Bangladesh. This situation should be improved.
There are lots of Bengali immigrants living all around the world. What do you think about joint initiatives that should be taken by the governments of both the countries to reach such huge audience?
Yes, there is a good market outside these two countries for Bengali films. Steps must be taken to reach these people if we want to expand our business. A lot of time has already been wasted. Now both the governments should work together and take some effective steps so that we can reach Bengali movie lovers living abroad.
Films are now released online and many people are even making web series using modern technology. Under such circumstances as a producer do you see the future of films in the cinema halls?
Yes, I do think that cinema halls will always be there. But one thing must be remembered that as the screen of cinema halls are bigger in size, the standard of the films that we will make in the future must be that good as well if we want the audience to watch our movies by sitting in the cinema halls.
You have many fans of your acting and films in Bangladesh. Do you want to say something for them?
I am really overwhelmed by the fact that there are so many people here in Bangladesh who like my works. I have seen that people are trying to talk to me and take selfies with me. It’s really good to see such enthusiasm for me. Well, I hope that my fans in Bangladesh will keep loving and appreciating my films.
(This interview was first published on the Daily Sun, a sister concern of Kalerkantho.)