A Minute With: India director Dibakar Banerjee on "Bombay Talkies"

Thu May 2, 2013 6:25am EDT
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By Shilpa Jamkhandikar

MUMBAI (Reuters) - Indian director Dibakar Banerjee has marked 100 years of Indian cinema with a short film inspired by a story written by Oscar-winning filmmaker Satyajit Ray.

Banerjee has adapted the story "Patol Babu, Film Star", about a middle-aged man getting his moment of fame playing a bit role in a movie, as part of a Bollywood project by four Indian directors to show what the movies have meant to them.

"Bombay Talkies" opens in cinemas on Friday, one century after the first Indian feature film "Raja Harishchandra" held audiences spellbound in Mumbai and laid the foundation for one of the world's largest film industries.

"Bombay Talkies" will also be screened at the Cannes Film Festival this month and features short films by well-known directors Anurag Kashyap, Zoya Akhtar and Karan Johar.

Banerjee, 43, who most recently made the political thriller "Shanghai", spoke to Reuters about short films and cinema being viewed as human history.

Q: How different is making a short film from making a full-length feature?

A: It's just a different way. I took a short story written by Satyajit Ray, a very interesting story and I adapted it. It is similar and yet different. I have taken the core of the story and have changed the setting from 1960s Calcutta to 2013 Bombay and given it new elements and dimensions. The story is also about a man defining his own success for himself. That remains the same but the definition has evolved from there. It's about a man trying to succeed as a professional and a man trying to command the respect of his peers.

Q: Is it an emotional film?   Continued...

Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin smiles as director Dibakar Banerjee (R) speaks during the opening news conference of the 13th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in Singapore June 7, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong/Files