wavelength, read the same kind of books, watch the same kind of films. Not that I don’t want to cast anybody else. I really enjoyed working with Raima Sen in The Japanese Wife (2010). She has a low-key personality which worked for the film.
Many of your works have been from books you read in the past. For instance, you read Goynar Baksho, in the ‘90s, but made a film much later.
I had read the book in 1992. I remember thinking at the time that it reminds me of Latin American literature and magic realism. But what I liked most then was the old woman’s lust for life, and how she refuses to let go of life even after death. But then it was only much later that I thought of making the film. I had to wait for 13 years until the producers of Iti Mrinalini (2011) agreed to make Goynar Baksho (2013).
Most of your films are women-centric. Why is that?
Some are, such as Paroma (1984), Paromitar ek Din (2000) and Goynar Baksho (2013). But for instance, 36 Chowringhee Lane (1981) has a woman at the centre but it could have been a man as well, except that I didn’t know anything about an all-boys school, and what pranks boys play, since I went to a girls’ school. The character, Violet Stoneham, has a resilience that an old man may not have had. I think women are more resilient than men. There is a kind of strength that my women characters have, like Paroma in Paroma. She tried to commit suicide but when it did not work, she finds a new identity. But that is not always true in my films. For instance I made Yugant (1995), about a marriage, where the husband and the wife live apart for work reasons. They are meeting on their 17th anniversary, they are constantly arguing and their marriage is falling apart. This disintegration of marriage becomes a metaphor for the collapse of everything around them. But in this film, you find the woman’s success is corrupting her, whereas the man has his moral ideals intact.