Drying funds create rift in Tollywood directors

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KOLKATA: The crack in two segments of filmmakers in Tollywood has widened to a rift with the funds tap running dry for the more seasoned group of directors and their younger generation enjoying a largely steady flow of investment.

The dominance of a handful of production houses in the Bengal film industry has taken toll on much accomplished veterans like Haranath Chakraborty, Anup Sengupta and Swapan Saha. Most of them haven’t helmed a film for almost three years now and are forced to work on smaller projects.

Chakraborty, famed for blockbusters like Saathi (2002), Sasurbari Zindabad (2000), Pratibadh (2001) and Nabab (1991), sees an appalling dearth in understanding of the craft among the producers. “Alongside nepotism that was always there, there is a new trend of producers coming from the corporate sector and vanishing after a one or two film (s),” said the 55-year-old director who had introduced faces like Jeet, Koel, Soham and Subhashree to the Bengali film industry.

“We do not know who to get in touch with when we have a script to discuss.” Chakraborty’s film Amar Prem was released in 2016 after a threeyear gap. “Some just come to invest money here and try their luck like in any other business venture and when they make loses like any other producer in the industry, they back off. Some producers have even turned directors themselves,” he said, claiming that there has been a steady slump in the quality of content.

Swapan Saha is another filmmaker who couldn’t make to the list of favourites of the reigning production houses. “Barring a few names like Shree Venkatesh Films and Ashok Dhanuka, there are no producers who can be approached because everyone here is a new-comer. While directors like us do not have a film to work on, the industry too has also lost most of its producers because they couldn’t sustain their business,” he said. “While new actors, new directors and new producers are welcome in the industry there is also a need of consistency which the industry lacks,” Saha pointed out.