Dibakar Banerjee's quest for old gems from Kolkata's past

Jul 25, 2013, 08:45 IST | Sujata Chakrabarti

Why Dibakar Banerjee went knocking door-to-door in search of the legacy of yesteryear Kolkata

Making a period film is no mean feat for filmmakers who believe in portraying every detail to the T of the bygone era. And that’s exactly what took Dibakar Banerjee and his team knocking on the doors of Calcuttans influential in their own right who are almost timekeepers of the yesteryear era of Calcutta caught in the throes of World War II (1939-1945).

Dibakar Banerjee

The director’s upcoming detective franchisee based on the evergreen sleuth Byomkesh Bakshi has brought Banerjee and his crew to seek out illustrious individuals who hold the keys to treasured antiquities and priceless photographs from the past.

States Dibakar, “We have been visiting antique markets, reputed professionals and old families from Kolkata... taking photographs and researching for the film on the streets. The manner in which these families and individuals have opened their doors and their hearts is unprecedented.”

According to Banerjee, this can best describe the cultural heritage of the place, where the legacy of the past is handed down from one generation to another. He feels the responsibility that has now been entrusted with him has put him almost on a sticky wicket.

“I am scared now with the way people have responded in helping us research our film. It’s part of the Bengali culture. It’s so rich that all of us have this feeling of powerlessness of not being able to preserve Calcutta. It’s a strange paradox,” says the quintessential Bengali bhadralok, who has set out to retrace the steps of yet another like him, who lived in the pages of famous Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay.

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