Rati,Mahesh Manjrekar in Bengali film

Ardhangini has Bollywood actors Mahesh Manjrekar and Rati Agnihotri playing a couple.

Written by Shoma A. Chatterji | Mumbai | Published:March 16, 2012 4:51 pm

Bengali cinema has widened its horizons. The cast and crew of many contemporary Bengali films draw not only from Bollywood but also from other regions. Therefore,the term ‘Bengali cinema’ means something broader and wider than it meant during the golden era of Uttam Kumar and Tapan Sinha. Debutant director Abhishek Mukherjee’s Ardhangini is an example The film features two stellar Bollywood actors,Mahesh Manjrekar and Rati Agnihotri in important roles. This is the second Bengali film for both. Agnihotri played one of the two female leads in Aaina while Manjrekar portrayed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in his production Ami Subhash Bolchhi.

Explaining why he chose Mahesh Manjrekar and Rati Agnihotri over Bengali actors,Mukherjee said,“It was a coincidence,really. I have great regard for Maheshji and consider him one of the finest actors in the country. One sees him in every other Bollywood hit from Bodyguard to Dabangg to Ready. One does not see Ratiji that often but when I narrated the script to them,they agreed at once. It is not as if I have not taken Bengali actors. The rest of the cast is from the industry. Also their presence in the film will add to its box-office value.”

Mukherjee is making his directorial debut with Ardhangini. He began his career as assistant with Marathi film, Jigar and followed it up with soaps and television serials. He switched over to Bengali television and also made a short film in Hindi. When Manjrekar had come down to Kolkata,some months back for his Ami Subhash Bolchhi,he had said that he found a lot of similarities between Marathi and Bengali,not only in terms of the language which had similar words,terms and phrases,but also in terms of cultural issues like theater,music,and films. This time,he is serious about learning the language so that he would be able to give interviews in Bengali!

Having done four Telugu and one Kannada film,Manjrekar feels quite at ease acting as a patriarch in a Bengali family in which Rati plays his wife. The others in the cast are Angshuman,Meghna Haldar,Kanchana Maitra,Pulakita Ghosh,George Baker and Arpita Baker. “This is basically a love story set within the genre of a family drama filled with emotions of different shades. It is a beautiful story about human values and relationships. What make it unique is its different storyline which spans across ten years,” adds Mukherjee. The music for the film is being scored by Choton Banerjee,Subrata Pandey is the cinematographer and Susmit Mandal will edit the film choreographed by Michael. The film is based on a story by Mukherjee,who has also written the screenplay and the dialogues.

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