Nana Patekar steps into the shoes of Soumitra Chatterjee as he signs the Hindi remake of the hit Bengali film Bela Sheshe!

Nana Patekar has signed the Hindi remake of the Bela Seshe (at the end of the day or in the autumn of my life), a Bengali family drama film directed by Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee. The Hindi version will be produced by Reliance.

Nana will be seen essaying the role of Bengali star, Soumitra Chatterjee while Swatilekha Sengupta’s role (who plays Chatterjee’s wife) is yet to be finalized. The film explores the intricacies of a marital relationship between an old couple (Soumitra and Swatilekha) and their life-long companionship, promises, expectations and views on love. Made at a budget of approximately Rs. 1.10 crore, the film had managed to cut across all age groups, and scored at the box office despite competition from Bollywood hits Piku and Tanu Weds Manu Returns.

When we quiz him about it, Nana Patekar confirms that he is doing the Hindi remake of Bela Sheshe. “Yes I have been offered Shiboprasad Mukherjee’s Bela Seshe and I am playing the old guy. The moment I heard it I said yes. It’s a beautiful film. While it’s a film relevant in today’s times, but we don’t make films like that anymore because people are afraid to make these kinds of films. Unfortunately, they feel nobody will go and watch them. There are few directors who believe in their creations and that conviction has to be there otherwise it is not possible to make a film. I tell directors that they should look out for the direction in their films but as some have families to run, I tell them ‘requirement kam karo.’ Ghar toh hamara bhi tha lekin pachaas saal mein hamnein ek sau ekkis film kiye hai.”

Nana is not new to the Bengali film industry having worked with noted directors like Tapan Sinha and Gautam Ghosh. Nana says reflectively, “Bengali films were subtle earlier – especially those of directors like Mrinal Sen and Tapan Sinha. I did one film with Tapanda – Aaj Ka Robinhood and another with Gautam Ghosh called Yatra with Rekha. I didn’t have any language problem then as the films were made in Hindi. The family is Bengali but they speak in Hindi. We will have to see how it’s done in Bela Sheshe. If it’s made in Hindi we will have to make it differently when we adapt it so we need to sit on that script too. The whole backdrop will change unless the story is set in Bengal. But if the story is set in Mumbai or North India then we will have to change it. If it’s not Bengal then we can’t have Durga Puja. I feel we should keep the story in Kolkata and make it a Bengali family with a few lines here and there in Bengali like I would say casually ‘aapnaar shorir kemon ache?’

Why does he do so few films in a year? “Itna kam karta hoon iss liye thodi si achchi hai. Zyada karoonga toh gandi hogi. You can’t give that much time for that script. I think more than 50 per cent your job is done when the script is up to the mark. Rest is executing it and when you have great artistes working with you like Iravati Harshe and Sumeet Raghavan (in Aapla Manus). Gaaliyon bahut khaate hai because I love abusing people!” (he jokes and laughs)

Nana is also known to change scripts. He changed the entire approach from theatrical to cinema for Satish Rajwade’s Aapla Manus. Satish tells us that the actor was large-hearted enough not to take away the writer’s credit. It took the team six months to change it from the theatrical scenes to a screenplay but Nana gave them that time. Nana affirms, “Yes. When you are changing from one medium to another you have to change and add so many things… If you want to give a bitter pill you need to sugar coat it. If you keep telling a story straight there’s no fun to it. You need to have humour in between, then drama and then humour again. Storytelling of a film of a film either should be so gripping that people watch it without moving or change the story. I saw Meryl Streep’s Sophie’s Choice and kept thinking about it for days after that – why don’t we make movies like that?”

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