Friday, February 5, 2010

Raima Sen

Raima and Riya Sen in Rituparno’s Noukadubi

Raima and Riya Sen in Rituparno’s Noukadubi

Granddaughters of legendary screen diva Suchitra Sen, Riya and Raima Sen, will be seen sharing screen space together for the first time in Rituparno Ghosh’s “Noukadubi.”

Apparently, Rituparno had approached Riya and Raima for the film at the same time and both of them even received the script together. They were offered two very diverse roles and both of them had no qualms playing the characters. According to sources, Riya initially thought Raima’s character had a lot more prominence and had much more scope and dimension to it as compared to hers.

But being a thorough professional and a doting sister, Riya chose to go ahead with the role she was offered, as it was extremely challenging. What’s interesting about the entire episode is that both the actresses are playing roles very contrary to their public image. While Riya Sen will be seen in a complete de-glam avatar, Raima will be playing a sophisticated woman.

“Noukadubi” is an adaptation of a Rabindranath Tagore novel with the same title. The tale of mistaken identities revolves around a newly-married couple separated when their boat capsizes and a storm tosses them into the river. The groom wakes up to find himself and a young bride on the shore. He returns home with the girl only to learn later that she is someone else’s wife.

Apart from Raima and Riya Sen, the film also stars Jisshu Sengupta, Priyanshu Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore. Riya plays Kamala and Raima is Hemnalini. “Noukadubi” follows Anjan Dutt’s failed attempt to cast the Sen sisters in “The Bong Connection”; Riya was later replaced by Peeya Rai Chowdhuri.

According to Raima, “Both Riya and I have long wanted to act in a film together. But we were not getting the right project. Rituda is the best person to pull off such a cast, as he can make his female characters seem very flesh-and-blood.”

About the film, Rituparno said, “The idea of making a film on ‘Noukadubi’ germinated while we were shooting for ‘Abohoman.’ I would discuss with Titoda (Dipankar De) if there’s any place for Bengali literature in popular cinema because there’s a tendency to classify any literature-based film as an art film.

“I felt ‘Noukadubi’ has all the ingredients of a mainstream, rather popular, film. A couple is separated and there’s a lot of melodrama. ‘Noukadubi’ won’t have the complicated narrative of Chokher Bali.” “I am setting the film in 1925. But it would be visually different from ‘Chokher Bali.’ Tagore seldom specifies the period in his stories but I’m bringing it a little forward.

“I decided against setting ‘Noukadubi’ in the contemporary period as I felt it won’t remain the same story anymore. ‘Noukadubi’ has to be seen from the point of that period’s conventional morality. Chastity plays a major role in the film. Morality is very important. It’s a bit surprising coming from Tagore and that too after he had written ‘Streer Patra’ and ‘Chokher Bali.’ I want to question this idea,” added the director.