Probir Roy’s association with the entertainment industry goes back a long way. As an actor he had won the Promothesh Barua Award for Best Actor for his role in Sabda Jabda and was instrumental in introducing colour television coverage in India in 1982 with the Jawaharlal Nehru International Invitation Gold Cup Football Tournament much before Doordarshan started the same. Having directed Bengali television serials for more than two decades, he makes his debut as a feature filmmaker with his film, Kaal Madhumaash. The film is adapted from Sunil Das’ homonymous novel. Ask Roy why he took the decision to make a film so late in his career and the director replies, “I did not have the confidence to make a film. Although I had the subject in mind for a long time, I lacked the courage to take up the project. Somebody else had puchased the copyright initially for this subject and after he shelved his film, the subject came to me. Maybe I was destined to make it,” says the man behind the lens.
Talking about his choice of subject, the filmmaker explained, “I am a very romantic person. It was natural that my first film would be based on love and relationships. The film deals with the emotional upheavals of Saathi played by Rimjhim Gupta. Kaal Madhumaash is one of the best novels I have read.” On being asked about his experience of working on the sets, Roy says, “It was a delight working with my cast members. Arindam Sil who plays Rimjhim’s wanton husband and Debraj Roy are my old friends. So it was easy working with them. Although this is Sudip Sarkar’s debut film, his acting is effortless as he is a natural performer. He is also very obedient. Rimjhim is a very talented actress. Her portrayal of the role of the deceived wife, Saathi, is commendable.”
Roy wants to concentrate on films at present and doesn’t want to make television shows anymore. On being asked why he wants to make this move, he explains, “It is a conscious decision. Nowadays, there is too much of pressure in television, as a result of which, quality suffers. The schedules are far too choc-a-bloc for my liking. When I used to make serials, we had a lot of independence but now, with too many shows being aired daily, everything has to be done in a jiffy. One can’t derive satisfaction out of work done in such a hurry.”
The director is a huge fan of the films of Michael Hoffman, Satyajit Ray, Guru Dutt and Raj Kapoor. Among contemporary filmmakers, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury and Anik Dutta are his favourites. “Anik’s Bhooter Bhobishyot is a milestone in Bengali
cinema. I have known him since his days as an ad filmmaker and it feels great to find him doing such good work. Tony (Anirudhha Roy Chowdhury) also makes mature films and watching his film Anuranan was an overwhelming
experience,” added Roy. Having been a national-level swimmer in his youth, swimming continues to be his hobby. He also enjoys listening to music and reading non-fiction.
Talking of his future plans, the director says, “I haven’t decided what I will take up next but I want to make a comic film. It is the most difficult genre to attempt and making a successful comedy film is the highest feat any director can achieve.”