Dhaka Courier

Anjan Dutt: Redefining age as just numbers

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Debut participation in Bangladesh as a filmmaker

A Darjeeling-made maestro who brought a breath of fresh air in Bengali music and cinema, the eminent Indian-Bengali actor, filmmaker and musician Anjan Dutt passed his 66 glorified years in style. On the occasion of his 67th birthday, the legendary artist joined the 18th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF) in the capital for the first time ever with his film ‘Finally Bhalobasha’, and shared his experience as a journeyman with Dhaka Courier.

Born on January 19, 1953 - Anjan has always been credited for creating a new genre of music in Kolkata, based on the middle-class lives and their everlasting crisis. He, alongside with contemporary artist Kabir Sumon and Nachiketa made countless evergreen songs of this genre, and Anjan rightfully earned the love in both the Bengal for his hit classics including ‘Eta ki 2441139’, ‘Ranjana Ami ar Ashbona’, ‘Bhalobashi Tomay’, ‘Ekdin Brishti te Bikele’ and many more.

“Half of the listeners of my music are Bangladeshi. I came here multiple times to sing my songs”, Anjan spoke on his love for his music enthusiasts in Bangladesh.

“That being said, I always wanted to come here with my films as well- as I am in this industry for such a long time”- Anjan speaking about his desire to showcase his film in the country.

A National Award winner for his acclaimed film ‘Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbona’ (2011), Anjan debuted as an actor in Mrinal Sen’s film ‘Chalachitra’ (1981), for which Anjan received the award for the best newcomer at Venice Film Festival.

Since his debut, the noted actor-turned filmmaker acted in 43 films, and directed 24 of those including the popular detective series ‘Byomkesh Bakshi’.

“I was successful to showcase my first and till date, the only stage play ‘Salesman er Shongshar’, an adaptation of Arthur Miller’s famous play ‘Death of a Salesman’ here in Dhaka last year (July 2019), and was overwhelmed. So I really wanted to come to Bangladesh with my cinema and thankfully I made it, thanks to the organizers”, Anjan explained his intention and joy at being the DIFF 2020.

Anjan’s participation in DIFF happened with his film ‘Finally Bhalobasha’ which portrays courageous storytelling- a process that made Anjan unique and special. His movies often talked about complexities in relationships, psychological hardships, different orientations in sexuality such as homophobia and many other courageous subject matters.

With his debut participation in DIFF, Anjan was awarded with the Best Audience Award (People’s Choice Award) in Cinema of the World category, for his film ‘Finally Bhalobasha’. Receiving the award on the date of his birthday (Sunday, January 19)- Anjan said “This is the best gift one can get in his birthday. I have been working in this industry (film) for over 40 years now, and this award came with my debut participation in Bangladesh with any of my films- and I am really proud of this honor. I cannot thank more the audience of Bangladesh and organizers of DIFF.”

Speaking about his next venture to Dhaka Courier, Anjan said “My next venture is a comedy, an opera-style satire. The story goes like this- some people live in a place for so years and used to that land- one day the landlord suddenly came, claiming the ownership. The story had been revolving in my mind for quite some times, and coincidentally it matched with the ongoing NRC-CAB issues in India. It will be a musical film.”

When asked about whether his Bangladeshi fans will see him in a Bangladeshi film in future, he said “I really wish and want to work in Bangladeshi cinema. In fact, I was in talks with Mostofa Sarwar Farooki about a movie a couple of years ago, but unfortunately, it did not happen though it was no one’s fault. I still have the wish intact in my heart.”

When Dhaka Courier asked whether he has any upcoming musical project regarding the ongoing NRC issue in India- the eminent musical artist replied “Years ago, I wrote a song sitting inside a cafe in Bailey Road, named ‘Chokher Jol Kingba Pani’- which surprisingly relates to the NRC issue. I believe I should not make any other song until I get the feeling that the new one is better than that song. I do not want to make songs without my satisfaction.”

What is the mantra of living a happy life? The artist revealed to Dhaka Courier- “Living well is necessary, loving all is necessary. At this age of 67, I am still gathering a lot of experiences each and every day. Maintaining friendships is also very necessary for a happy life. And one more thing- you have to believe in acceptance. I know I am aged well, accepting it, moving forward and trying to make my works meaningful.”

  • Anjan Dutt: Redefining age as just numbers
  • Vol 36
  • Md. Ishtiak Hossain
  • Issue 29
  • DhakaCourier

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