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Part of Kolkata still retains 1940s look: Dibakar Banerjee

Director Dibakar Banerjee says while filming scenes for 'Detective Byomkesh Bakshy', he was surprised to discover that the city had retained much of the 1940s look and feel.

Dibakar Banerjee
Dibakar Banerjee. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

During the planning stage, Dibakar, 44, told PTI, he had worried a lot about how to impart a retro look to his movie, as the city has transformed much with skyscrapers and huge shopping malls now proclaiming their presence.

"But as I began to explore the city's old quarters in the north and central part, I discovered a fascinating picture of old world charm complete with narrow lanes, old buildings, tram tracks and above all the unobtrusive bustle," he said. It was the director's first leg of shooting which took him to Chitpur, Hatibagan, College Street and Dalhousie Square (BBD Bag) in the northern and central parts of the city.

Dibakar said that in the first leg of shooting he had used a lot of vintage cars of the 1920s like Austin and Rangers, horse-drawn carriages and old tram cars, thanks to the Calcutta Tramways Company. "For scenes which may have references to present-day Kolkata, we will use DI technique while editing, but mostly they were real time ones," he said adding the unit would be back in a few months.

Dalhousie Square was a revelation, the director said. The area still retained the Britsh era touch, he said. He said that the Dalhousie Square part of the shooting was done to recreate the ambience of 1943 when the city was experiencing the first stirring of World War II and Byomkesh was passing through the area when a Red Cross charity drive was in progress.

The two British era trams, used in the shooting, were painted afresh with adverts of a hair oil and perfume adorning the cars which were popular among women of those days.

Sushant Singh Rajput will play Byomkesh Bakshi, the character immortalised by author Saradindu Bandyopadhyaya. About the actor, Dibakar said that he was happy Rajput had perfectly fit the description of the sleuth by the author. Dibakar has bought the rights of all 33 Byomkesh stories.

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