The superstar of Bengali film industry, Prosenjit Chatterjee, who has thrived across genres over three decades, says commercial, big-budget cinema has to earn money at the box office not only for the growth of the industry but also to support experimental, arthouse fare.
“I am one of those actors who are in the belief that in order to encourage experimental storytelling, commercial cinema has to work. Yes, with time, the language of commercial cinema has to change, but big-budget commercial potboilers have to work for the economic growth of our film industry,” Prosenjit told IANS.
“When I started my career in cinema, and went on to be the lead actor in mainstream masala films, the budget used to be around rupees 20 lakh. When I left such mainstream work and shifted my gear to content-driven cinema, and worked with Ritu (Rituparno Ghosh), Goutam Ghose, Buddhadev Dasgupta, Srijit (Mukerji), and Kaushik Ganguly, the budget of a Bengali film started expanding to Rs 2 crore. The journey from 20 lakh to 2 crore talks of the economic growth and growing market that our cinema has. It has been possible only because of the success of commercial cinema,” said the actor who started his career in 1968 as a child artiste.
He added: “When we look at the filmmaking business as a business, the production houses have to earn money. So, no point looking down upon ‘commercial cinema’.”
Citing an example in Bollywood, Prosenjit explained: “A film like ‘Badhaai Ho’ is called a commercial success, right? Even Rohit Shetty’s cop-dramas are commercial successes. I am saying, both needs to exist and we have to look at the term ‘commercial cinema’ differently.”