Akashaditya Lama on film 'Bengal 1947': Not a Propaganda Film

After writing more than two and a half thousand episodes of TV serials and working as an assistant in some films, Akashaditya Lama, the famous director of films like 'Cigarette', 'Nani Teri Morni', etc

By Bollyy
New Update
Akashaditya Lama on film 'Bengal 1947'
Listen to this article
0.75x 1x 1.5x
00:00 / 00:00

After writing more than two and a half thousand episodes of TV serials and working as an assistant in some films, Akashaditya Lama, the famous director of films like 'Cigarette', 'Nani Teri Morni' and 'Tauba Tera Jalwa', is now working as a writer and director. And the co-producer is coming up with the film "Bengal 1947", which is a love story. But this film also raises many important issues.

Recently met Akashaditya Lama, and had a long conversation with him about his career and the film 'Bengal 1947'...

Akashaditya Lama: Career & 'Bengal 1947' Insights

Were you brought up in an artistic environment?

-The reality is that everyone in our house is a soldier. Our great-grandfathers, grandfathers, and fathers have all been wearing uniforms. My great-grandfather took part in the First World War and the Second World War. My father was studying in college in 1971, but when the war started, he left college and fought the 1971 war. Later he completed his studies, after which he went to CFS. My uncle also retired from CFS. So everyone here has been wearing a uniform. During my school days, my dream was to become an Army officer or an Air Force pilot, then I saw that no wars were happening, so I would become a general and retire one day. Well, I believe that there should not be wars. So seeing the situation in those days, I felt that I would get bored by joining the army. Then thought of doing something else. I did not do my homework during school days. My friends used to complete the homework, in return for which I used to tell them stories. I thought I could tell stories well, so what should I do? At first, I thought of becoming a writer, but then I came to know that writers always remain poor. After a lot of thinking, I decided in the ninth class that I wanted to become a film director. As far as art is concerned, my mother was associated with theater during her time. My father is also an artist by nature, but no one is associated with this genre.

What were your preparations for becoming a film director?

-Every person in this world thinks that he can act and write. Every person also dreams of becoming an actor. Therefore there is a lot of competition in this field. I wanted to go to FTI, Pune to prepare to become a film director. Meanwhile, under the pressure of my father, I went to Gwalior to study, where one day the Director of NSD came and conducted a workshop. To become a part of this workshop, boys were selected through audition, I also auditioned and was selected. I learned a lot from the forty-day workshop. After that, I also did theater with institutions like ‘Kala Mandir’ and ‘Kala Group' in Gwalior for two years. Doing theater increased self-confidence. Who helped me a lot, after that, I decided to come to Mumbai, but I had no money. A friend of mine in the village promised to sponsor me, but he did not board the train on time. At that time, I was eighteen or 18 and a half years old, so following my mind, I left my mechanical engineering diploma studies and came here to Mumbai.

You must have had to struggle a lot in Mumbai.

Yes! But I never sit idle. I did not consider any work small. In Mumbai, I first worked as an assistant director in a Marathi language film being made under the direction of Kumar Sahun. Now perhaps he is no more in this world after that Abhay was an assistant in Phanshekar's Hindi film 'Encounter the Killing'. It featured actors like Tara Deshpande, Aakash Khurana, etc. Was helpful in this also. Then he was an assistant in the film 'Gadar: Ek Prem Katha' released in 2001. Before that, I was associated with C-grade films with Rajesh Mittal. Learned the qualities of filmmaking from him also. Then joined the advertising world. Associated with a good person like advertisement filmmaker Ravi Gupta. After that, on the recommendation of Sarthakdas Gupta, Anil Sharma made me his assistant in the film 'Gadar Ek Prem Katha'. Sarthak Das Gupta makes art house cinema. Ravi Shankar Prasad, who was working as an assistant in 'Gadar', became my good friend. He made me the second unit director at Balaji Telefilms. Then I also started writing Ekta Kapoor's serials. After that worked for Deepti Bhatnagar, Nimbus, and Rajshree Production. In between, I went to Indonesia for two to three years, where I wrote many serials. Wrote dialogues for Rajshree Production's two serials 'Pyaar Ke Do Naam: Ek Radha Aur Ekashshyam' and 'Jhilmil Staron Ka Aangan Hoga'. Wrote many serials for Doordarshan and also did amateur acting. Well, I don't consider myself a good actor. One serial was – ‘Jo Kahunga Sach Kahunga’, and the other ‘Piya Ka Aangan’ became quite popular. I played Vicky Bajaj in ‘Piya Ka Aangan’. Even after 18 years, people recognize me. So while working like this, I kept getting trained. Theater was my hobby, so after coming to Mumbai, I started my theater group “Think Tank Theatre” group. I did a play ‘Mohjodaro’, in which many artists like Anhad, Ashok Banthia, Devolina, Mithali Nag, Prachi Parab, Raunak Ahuja, Aman Verma performed plays under our direction. In 2012, I directed my first film “Cigarette Ki Kaarh”. Then made Nagaland's first children's film "Nani Teri Morni". This film received many awards. This film was also in IFFI Goa. Recently this film was also shown by UNICEF. Then he directed the first released film of 2024, ‘Toba Tera Jalwa’. Now on March 29, the fourth film written and directed by me “Bengal 1947” is being released.

Where did the seeds of the story of the film “Bengal 1947” come from?

-I have also lived in Calcutta for a long time. While living in Calcutta, I have read a lot of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay. I have been greatly influenced by him. We cannot understand the female mind. But the way Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay understands the female mind is his biggest specialty. I agree that it is very difficult to understand a woman, yet after reading Sharatchandra's stories, I have started understanding women to some extent. Some feminists may feel bad after hearing my words, but it is not so. Women have maximum emotions. Men, despite being emotional, are unable to express their emotions. Whereas women are very emotionally charged. Secondly, having lived in many different areas of the country, including Ranchi, Bhilai, Gwalior, Calcutta, Nagaland, and Mumbai, I understood that casteism is very prevalent in small towns in our country. I did not experience this much in Calcutta or Bhilai. Then I read some books of Dr. Ambedkar and realized that he was a nationalist. In reality, Dr. Ambedkar is not like the image he has today or the way his followers have presented him. In one of the books, Dr. Ambedkar quoted Bhagwati that, 'whether someone reads my book or not, but someday someone will read this book of mine and understand it... After reading this I felt that Dr. Ambedkar had said this to me. It is written for. Whatever may be the fate of my film 'Bengal 1947', I will give the first credit for it to Mother Saraswati. This film could not have been made without Mother Saraswati. I will give a second credit to Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay and a third credit to Dr. Ambedkar. Understanding developed within me through these three, and I first made a play on them. This story is from the time of partition in 1947. People believe that caste conflict was at its peak at that time. I understood that everything is presented in a wrong way in Indian culture. Whatever stories are told and the kind of caste conflict depicted in them is not like that. I do not say that there was no caste discrimination. But here we have taken a different path. Whether you take the story of King Harishchandra, or the story of Trishanku, or the children of Satyavati. All these stories are mentioned in our film. So casteist ideas in our country were not the way they are today. According to the time, some people wrote some books. By capturing all those things, I made them a part of the story of this film. When Dr. Ambedkar wrote everything in a very unique way, I felt that his research was very good. So in this entertaining film of ours, there is a love story of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay and research of Ambedkar. First, he wrote a play and now a film has been made on the same play. The caste factor has played an important role in the partition of the country, which people do not know. People only do Hindu and Muslim. Our film says that we should not repeat the mistakes we made in 1947. Then whatever method of worship he may follow. If you learn from history, you will not fight over history, you will understand history and behave accordingly, and then your situation will be good.

The tagline of your film is – “A Saga of Love and Separation”. But you are talking about caste? Would you like to shed light on the story of the film?

-It is not possible to tell the story. I want people to go inside theaters and watch films. In those days there was a character in Bengal – Jogendranath Mandal. Jogendranath Mandal was a Dalit leader who supported Mohd. Jinnah. Whereas Dr. Ambedkar had advised him not to do so. Ambedkar believed that there are problems in the country, but it is not that they cannot be solved. But Jogendranath Mandal went with Jinnah. People may abuse Jinnah, but as far as I understand him, he was an anti-hero rather than a hero or a villain. Jinnah was also one of the leaders who committed some mistakes in the greed for power at that time. In the end, Jinnah may have kept saying that there would be no Hindus and Muslims in Pakistan, but we all know what happened there. When something has a greater impact on one side, it is natural that it impacts the other side as well. Even if there is a border wall standing in between. Information keeps coming and going across the border. If the mistakes that were made at that time had been handled tactfully, this situation would not have happened. This is the story of what happens to an ordinary person in such a situation and what effect it has on them. Our film stars a love-struck couple, Mohan and Shabari. Both of them depict the actions of big leaders, their political vision, or rather the impact of their political actions. Apart from this, the effect of social structure has also been shown. Throughout the world, that love that sacrifices has been described as great. Love that involves sacrifice is important. Love is not that which has lust. Can today's society change with the sacrifices our heroes and heroines make in love? This is the basic theme of our film. If someone's heart changes after watching our film, then it is my success. Since independence, caste and religion are the biggest factors in every election in our country. Every political party uses caste and religion in its way. Seventy percent of our film ‘Bengal 1947’ is a love story.

What kind of research did you do before making this film?

-Look, I don't know the Sanskrit language. But I have read the Hindi translation of Rijurvend and other Vedas. Many people have translated them, from Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati to Lokmanya Tilak. I also read the views of leftist writers. Have also read people's commentaries on the Vedas. It has been said that Shudras and women do not have the right to read the Vedas. Whereas the reality is that there was no caste in the Vedic period. Secondly, when the debate was taking place between Shankaracharya and Vayumandal, why was Vayumandal's wife the arbiter? Then Maithali and Gargi are also examples. Dr. Ambedkar has written that earlier girls also had Yagnopavit. She also ran a school. But every political party took advantage of these things. Caste played an important role in the formation of East Pakistan. This film of ours is completely positive. By watching the film, the young generation will realize what love should be like.


Your film ‘Bengal 1947’ is being screened at the time of the elections. Some people are also calling it a propaganda film. What impact will this film have on the elections?

-After watching our film, no one will call it a propaganda film. We have shown our film to Ambedkar's followers and Muslim scholars, everyone said that this is their film. Secondly, we did a play on this during the time of Covid.


Which actor played which character in the film?

-First of all the hero of my film is Anupam Ankur, he is from Pune Film Institute and this is his first film. While shooting in Jharkhand, Surbhi Srivastava, a girl from Rajnand village, was selected for the role of Shabari, she has been doing theatre. Now he has been selected for Pune Film Institute. Vikram Periyar is also from the theatre. Pooja is from our theater group. The famous actor is Dr. Anil Rastogi. Palak Rahi was selected from Whistling Wood. There is Aditya Lakhia, who played Garbage in the film 'Lagaan'. This is Sohela Kapoor. The singer of ‘Bachpan Ka Pyaar Bhool Na Jaana…’ is Sahadev..Okarnath is Manikpuri. Devlina Bhattacharya is also there. All are very strong artists. The music director of the film is Abhishek Ray. The voice of Harish Bhimani, who gave voice to time in 'Mahabharata', will be heard.


Where and when was the film shot?

-We shot it in Chhattisgarh in a month. We are grateful to the then Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Got a lot of support from them.

What will the audience take with them after watching the film?


-Shantiswarup Tripathi

Read also:

Latest Stories