Love for Bengal drove me from NASA to Bollywood: Bedabrata Pain
Love for Bengal and a burning desire to present the forgotten story of a Bengali freedom fighter to people outside the state, drove senior NASA scientist Bedabrata Pain to land in Bollywood
Pain, 49, said he decided to turn a filmmaker to tell the story of Masterda Surya Sen, who plotted and executed the famous Chittagong uprising against the British in the 1930s through a film.
Pain said he hardly found anyone outside West Bengal being aware of the courageous story of the raid of the British armouries by a handful of patriotic revolutionaries in Chittagong, now in Bangladesh, which shook the British colonialists. "I spent 26 years outside Bengal and 15 years of which I worked as a senior research scientist at the NASA. But the Bengali in me would never go away. After I found in 2006 that not many people in India knew of the Chittagong uprising, I decided to make a film on it," Pain said.
Pain was one of the inventors of the active pixel sensor technology that produced the world's smallest camera. He was inducted into the US Space Technology Hall of Fame. Pain says the film, 'Chittagong' which releases on October 12, was made in Hindi because he wanted a pan-India audience to see it. "If Masterda Surya Sen were born in Europe, by now there would be a hundred films on him as it is a David vs Goliath story," the director felt. Starring Manoj Bajpai and Nawazuddin Siddiqui, 'Chittagong' deals with a group of schoolboys and young women, led by Surya Sen, a teacher, who raided two armouries in the place.
The recent success of Bengal based Hindi films like 'Kahaani' and 'Barfi', has left the debutante director elated. "I hope mine will be a hit too as the country is now taking note of Bengali talents," he said. At NASA's jet propulsion lab, which he quit four years ago, Pain has 87 patents to his name. "A Bengali will always have this love for art, culture and creativity.
Now with this mission to tell a tale from Bengal to the whole world I plan to channelise my creativity in a different direction," he said, adding he found a sync between inventing technologies and making films. He said that the decision is a big risk for him as he has hardly been to a film's set before this.
"I felt that this was the right time to take the plunge. There is a fine line between foolishness and bravery. I don't know yet where I fall," said Pain, who now lives in Mumbai. To research for his film, he read a lot of books, historical records and even met some of the eyewitnesses in Bangladesh. "Although I have taken liberty at some places, but my film is based essentially on historical facts," he added.