Mumbai, Jan. 31 -- At a time when Bollywood seems to swear by muscle flexing heroes, filmmaker Dibakar Banerjee is happy to let the male protagonist of his upcoming film look like an average Joe in a muffler and dhoti. And he couldn't care less about not following the norm.
"I don't know if you've seen any sixpack hero or any pack hero (sic) in any of my films till now, so it's hardly surprising that I didn't go for one (in this film)," says the director of films such as Khosla Ka Ghosla (2006), Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! (2008), Love Sex Aur Dhokha (2010) and Shanghai (2012), all of which revolve around relatable characters from everyday life.
His latest film - starring Sushant Singh Rajput - is an adaptation of Bengali writer Sharadindu Bandyopadhyay's detective series, Byomkesh Bakshi, which was also turned into a hit TV series in the '90s. "It's good to do something that has not been done for a long time," says Dibakar.
The critically-acclaimed film-maker feels that these days, detective stories are a neglected genre in Bollywood. "Of late, I don't think detective stories feature at all in the consciousness of the Hindi film audience. The real hits are the films where the audience gets to see something new... not those that are a kind of a 'numbers game hit' (sic) with inflated figures announced over the weekend," he says, adding that this was a film that he wanted to make ever since he was a teenager.
It was Dibakar's childhood dream to make a movie on the fictional sleuth. "I've wanted to do Byomkesh since I was 13. It took me 30 years, but I'm finally doing it now. It was the first script I pitched after Khosla Ka Ghosla became a hit. Now, I think it was a blessing in disguise that I didn't do it then, because I needed more experience and maturity to handle something this complex," says the 45-year-old. He also feels that finding the right actor to fit the role was a challenge back then. "The biggest problem I faced in 2006-2007 was finding an actor to play the young and vulnerable Byomkesh on his first case. Around that time, we only had 40-year-olds, who are now 48-49, and no one else. It is only in the last few years that a whole crop of fresh actors has come in," he says.
So why Sushant Singh Rajput? "We zeroed in on Sushant because he suited the character best. We needed somebody who was understated, young and relatively still an enigma to the audience," says Dibakar.