At a time when love stories and comedies are the flavour of the season, director Arup Dutta decided to make a meaningful yet entertaining family drama about relationships. The film in question is Morning Walk and stars some big names like Anupam Kher, Sharmila Tagore, Rajit Kapur and Divya Dutta. The film releases this week right in the middle of some biggies but Arup is confident that his film too will find its audience. Bollywood Hungama caught up with the Bengali filmmaker for a rendezvous.
What is Morning Walk about?
Morning Walk is an intense family drama. It’s a completely original story written by me. The film revolves around Joymohan (Anupam Kher) who plays a retired professor from Kolkata. His only son (Rajit Kapur) is married to a high profile Punjabi lady (Divya Dutta) and they even have an 11 year old daughter (Avika Gor). Being a professor, Joymohan has some political and social ideologies which differ from those of his daughter-in-law because of which there are some clashes with his daughter-in-law. As a result, Joymohan ends up staying alone in Kolkata while his son and daughter-in-law stay in Mumbai. One fine day, Joymohan has a heart attack after which he is forced to come and stay with his son and daughter-in-law in Mumbai. After that incident, the family’s total equation changes and Joymohan even promises to sell his whole property in Kolkata and give the money to his son and daughter-in-law.
Why the title Morning Walk?
Anupam Kher’s character Joymohan has a habit of going for a Morning Walk in the film and it is during one such morning walk that he meets his old student Neelima (Sharmila Tagore). After meeting with her every other day during the Morning Walk, Joymohan realizes that even Neelima is not having such a rosy life and is struggling to finance her daughter’s dream of going abroad. How their lives completely change after that meeting at the Morning Walk and how some old memories and relationships once again come to the forefront is what the film is about?
When I approached Anupamji and Sharmilaji with the screenplay of this film, they agreed instantaneously.
How did you manage to cast veterans like Anupam Kher and Sharmila Tagore in your film?
Being a Bengali filmmaker, I always believe that the ‘Story’ is the most important aspect of any film. When I became a filmmaker I was only 24 years old and since that young age I have tried to specialize in writing a strong screenplay. The result is that when I approached Anupamji and Sharmilaji with the screenplay of this film, they agreed instantaneously. I didn’t have any difficulties in having to convince them for doing this film.
Apart from veterans like Anupam Kher and Sharmila Tagore, you also have some young actors in the film.
Yes…as I told you we have Rajit Kapur and Divya Dutta who play Anupam Kher’s son and daughter-in-law respectively. Then there is Nargis who plays Sharmila Tagore’s young daughter who wants to go abroad for higher studies. There is also Shayan Munshi who plays a struggling singer in Mumbai and Nargis’ boyfriend. Finally, there is the young bundle of talent Avika Gor (of Balika Vadhu fame) who plays Anupam Kher’s loving grand-daughter.
Some of the best scenes in the film are between Avika Gor and Anupam Kher.
How was it working with child star Avika Gor who has become a household name after Balika Vadhu?
It was great. Much before Avika started shooting or even got selected for Balika Vadhu, one of my model co-ordinators arranged a meeting with Avika. I was looking for a small girl to play the role of Anupamji’s grand-daughter and Avika came to meet me at my house along with her daddy. Instantly I chose her because I saw a lot of potential in her. I must say she has done a fabulous job and some of the best scenes in the film are between her and Anupam Kher.
Morning Walk is my first Hindi feature film. But I have directed several feature films in Bengali as I am originally from Kolkata.
Could you share a little bit on your background? Is Morning Walk your first film?
Morning Walk is my first Hindi feature film. But I have directed several feature films in Bengali as I am originally from Kolkata. From 1994, I have been in Mumbai and have directed over 100 corporate films for various advertising agencies. I have also been involved as a creative director for almost 1200 episodes across various production houses. I have directed episodes for shows like ‘Saturday Night Suspense’ and ‘Star Best Thriller’. This is my small background.
For the first time in any Hindi film, you will get to hear a fusion of Indian classical thumri (sung by Rashid Khan) and Spanish music
Could you tell us a little bit about the music of the film?
Music is an essential part of my film. The music has been composed by Jeet (of erstwhile Jeet-Pritam duo). After he and Pritam parted ways, Pritam has become the top music director in Bollywood while Jeet has become the no.1 music director in Bengal. I had worked with Jeet in some Bengali serials earlier and approached him to do the music. For the first time in any Hindi film, you will get to hear a fusion of Indian classical thumri (sung by Rashid Khan) and Spanish music. During the late 70’s and early 80’s (the Naxalite period) there was a huge influence of Spanish music in Kolkata and hence for the demand of the story I have incorporated that.
Lastly, what are your future plans?
I am ready with 2 scripts – one is a romantic musical called Album Of Life and another is a project tentatively called Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.