Promising filmmaker Raj Basu passed away on January 28, 2010 after battling for the last few months with a rare immune system disorder. He is survived by his mother, wife, a daughter, and a son. Raj was credited with directing the much-acclaimed Piyalir Password, the first Bengali feature film shot entirely in the USA and his major directorial venture after Wings of Hope (in English). Beating several odds, the movie was shot in record time and members of crew and cast shared their feelings about the film with us. BanglaPodcast invites its readers to salute this young, talented filmmaker by revisiting the world premiere of Piyalir Password.
Piyalir Password - The World Premiere and Making of the Movie
Piyalir Password, the first Bengali film shot entirely in USA, is about corporate conspiracy and medical ethics set in the Biotechnology industry of USA. It is a story of conspiracy, search for truth, love, trust and betrayal. It has an international cast with actors from the USA, Russia, South Africa and other nations. Rituparna Sengupta, Roopa Ganguly, SabyasachiChakraborty and Koushik Sen from Kolkata take part in leading roles.
This is director Raj Basu’s first Bengali feature film having earlier directed an award-winning English movie Wings of Hope. Cinematography is by Vivek Banerjee while the background score and music has been composed by Bickram Ghosh. The songs are by Swagatalakshmi, Rupankar, Jojo, Rupam Islam and Keka Ghosal.
Raj Basu’s Bengali thriller Piyalir Password was screened to the Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia audience at a World Premiere held at the Jewish Community Center Kreeger Auditorium in Rockville, Maryland on April 4, 2009. The sponsors of the event, Center for Social Change, which works with individuals with developmental disabilities, plans to take the film to select cities in the US to reach out to the Indian community and create awareness about their work.
Along with several members of the US-based cast and crew and the director Raj, Indian actors Roopa Ganguly and Rituparna Sengupta who play leading roles in the movie, flew in from Kolkata to attend the event.
Our team was there to be a part of this milestone moment in Indian regional cinema.
Songs of Piyalir Password - Commentary by Bickram Ghosh (a BanglaPodcast Exclusive)
”We’ve made some really lovely songs and some wonderful singers have sung...(the songs) stick to the premise of the background profession”, says Bickram Ghosh, the music director of this movie. “Unfortunately, the film itself, in its mode of realism, didn’t have the scope to have the full length songs in it”, Bickram adds. The songs are presented in the movie only fleetingly, mostly against the backdrop of the characters and their complicated journey. “Unlike films of other genres, in a thriller like this, I could not break the suspense by playing the full version of the songs,” explains director Raj Basu. The songs themselves, however, even when heard in isolation, captures the same cosmopolitan bengali feeling that is portrayed in the movie. BanglaPodcast.com had the opportunity to listen to the song samples and discuss extensively with Bickram about the music and the songs. Bickram comments on the moods that he wanted to interpret and the cultural osmosis between East and West that subconsciously we go through while living outside India. “These are today’s Bengali’s songs - standing midway between a westernized and an Indianized space” Bickram summarizes.
Click play on Player below to listen to Bickram’s commentary and the songs of Piyalir Password.
1. Chokh Kon Se Sagarpare - Rupam Islam
2. Moner Alo Andhare - Jojo
3. Satyer Nirjanatay - Rupankar
4. Anyo Deshe - Keka Ghosal
5. Tumi Rabe Nirabe - Swagatalakshmi
Password Revealed: The Team Behind The Movie
BanglaPodcast brings exclusive interviews with the cast and crew to take you from the story board to the location shootings to the editing as the team talks about the countless hours they spent to produce the 105-minute film. The thrill of first-time actors, the experience of seasoned veterans, the compact 19-day shooting schedule, some of the challenges and the fun and finally the spirit of coming together inspite of all odds to support a dream make a fascinating story. These video snippets sum-up all those feelings.
Click on each image to view video. Scroll down on sidebar to view more.
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Piyalir Password is a fast-paced, nail-biting medical thriller set in the backdrop of a medical research institute in Maryland. Piyali, played by Roopa Ganguly, a biomedical research scientist is unexpectedly found dead in her laboratory at an unearthly hour due to a mysterious gas leak. Rituparna, who plays the victim’s sister Rupa, has traveled from India to wrap up her sister’s legal formalities and execute her will. As she becomes involved in investigating her sister’s untimely death many uncertainties surface- is this just an innocuous accident or does it reek of foul play? Did Piyali fall victim to a deadly medical conspiracy or is her sister being overtly suspicious? As the plot unravels, Rupa is caught in a swirl of mystery in a foreign land as she struggles to get behind the truth and is forced to question other facets of her sister’s life. What is her brother-in-law concealing; does her niece know more than she dares to share? Who are Piyali’s colleagues really, are they as innocent and blameless as they seem? Is Samar, played by Sabyasachi, merely a friend?
The director has accomplished the task of pulling together stalwarts of the Bangla film industry in an effort to produce a movie of notable standard in spite of being handicapped by a low budget. This houses eminent actors like Rituparna Sengupta, Koushik Sen, Roopa Ganguly and Sabyasachi Chakraborty coupled with an international cast of actors from the US, South Africa, Russia and few other nations. Bickram Ghosh’s sound design establishes the reality of the tension, suspense and emotions. Being the first Bangla movie shot entirely in the US, there is a sense of credibility in the lifestyle depicted in the film. The scientific aspect, an intrinsic component of the plot focusing on Type A Diabetes and its medical cure, creates a thrilling suspense making the conspiracy very plausible and well researched. The director has effectively used robust imagery in conveying deeper insights as is indicated by the name itself. As a caveat to the future audience.... pay close attention to every detail of the film.
Reviewed byAnupa John,prabasi bengali from India and resident of Cleveland, Ohio. She has attended several film festivals and has been extensively exposed to movies from numerous countries, French movies being her personal favorite. A visit to Cannes, a city renowned for being one of the world's oldest, most influential and prestigious seats of film festivals, happens to be a highpoint of her movie fascination. Prior to her travel to the US to complete her MBA degree, she was employed by an international advertising agency in the Middle East and is presently the Marketing Manager of a national US bank.
A Milestone for Bengalis Abroad
Writes Prabar Ghosh in his review and report on the Q&A sessions with director Raj Basu
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