Laptop�s memory made it my protagonist: Filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly
Rahul Bose, Saswata Chatterjee and Churni Ganguly in Kaushik Ganguly’s Laptop Photo credit: Asit Sen
Kaushik Ganguly’s Bengali film Laptop, starring Rahul Bose and Churni Ganguly, got an enthusiastic reception at its international premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival. It is a sensitive film about a stolen laptop that passes through the hands of many people, even as it delicately observes human relationships and sexuality. It is the only Indian film in the Dubai Film Festival’s Muhr Asia-Africa Competition section.
It is unusual to have a laptop as a film’s protagonist. “I’m not techno-savvy, so the laptop is a mystery to me. But because it also has memory, I thought it could be a character. And as the memory travels (as the laptop changes hands), it can change people’s lives,” says Kaushik, who wrote, directed and acted in Laptop. The film also explores the relationship between a blind writer and his typist, with Kaushik putting in a finely nuanced performance as the writer, to counterpoint Ananya Chatterjee, National Award winner for Best Actress.
Kaushik’s earlier films have dealt with sexuality with a rare frankness — including Shunyo e Bukey and Arekti Premer Golpo (Just Another Love Story, on homosexuality, which was at the Berlin Film Festival). But, in Dubai it is low key.
“There is sexuality even in a mother-son relationship. But I did not want to highlight sexuality in this film,” Ganguly says. There is a brilliant scene between Kaushik and Ananya, where Ananya is in her undergarments, ironing her clothes that got wet in the rain.
“When he comes in, she is startled, and then relaxes, because he is blind,” Kaushik points out. “Later, he dictates his novel in which he describes a woman’s breasts, and Ananya suddenly feels shy as she realises he can see: he has a vision beyond vision.”
Rahul Bose, who is in Dubai, said acting in Laptop “was a leap of faith” for him. He is on a roll: he hopes to direct Mohsin Hamid’s Moth Smoke next year; he plays an Islamic terrorist in Kamal Hassan’s Vishwaroopam, and he raised $1million in charity for Oxfam-UK on the sidelines of the Dubai International Film Festival last night.
Noted director Goutam Ghose is president of the Muhr AsiaAfrica Documentary Jury of the Dubai Film Festival. There are 11 eleven Indian films at the Dubai Film Festival, and the other Bengali films include Srijit Mukherji’s thriller Baishe Srabon (August 7) and Sandeep Ray’s wonderful documentary The Sound of Old Rooms.