With the Tollywood industry turning around riding on crossover films and well-mounted commercial flicks, the local industry of Bengali films made here is eyeing a pie of the market in Bangladesh and links with the mecca of film making- the Hollywood.
"There was a time when in Bangladesh a film industry would spend more than 1.5 crore Taka for just one film and in comparison a film in our Tollywood industry would just be made in Rs 15 lakh. But the situation has reversed today" said Tollywood superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee on Friday at the FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) organized Media and Entertainment Business Conclave (MEBC).
Prosenjit said: "We are in a far better position because of the multi-lingual film culture in India. Bangladesh being a Bengali speaking community today depends on the Bengali films only. But we have to stand for the cause of good films and make it possible to release those in both the countries."
"The film market must open up for good films and revitalize the Bangladesh film industry as well," he said.
"We are thinking to send some good movies of Tollywood to Bangladesh. Five to six movies would be selected by them for screening there and we will screen an equal number here," said Prosenjit.
A delegation from Tollywood film industry will visit Dhaka in April next year, he informed.
"Right now our focus is on the content of the movie and to reach out to the people of both countries," he said.
On Friday Kolkata got to experience the most awaited business conclave in its second year, arranged by FICCI to boost the film industry in East.
Filmmaker Goutam Ghosh, who is the chairperson of MEBC East, said: "It is high time for us to learn the lessons from Bollywood and Tamil film industry. They have already the concept of marketing and exhibiting films in different parts of the world amongst the different language spoken communities."
"West Bengal is surrounded by Bay of Bengal and mountains, and the riverine Bangladesh has the stunning locations for a beautiful marriage of East and West for the international marketing of cinema, resolving their political barriers," said Ghosh stressing upon the tourism in films for both the countries.
West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said already land has been allocated for two entertainment cities and a third plot has also been earmarked.
"Moreover Hollywood industry has also shown their interest to invest in our entertainment industry," he claimed.
"In London when we were attending a business round table, there was a company which came up and said they are very interested in entertainment or the film city project we are thinking of in West Bengal," he informed.
"Not only the television and cinema but also the gaming industry, 3D, special effects and animation are flouring outside India because infrastructure is a critical question in India," said Mitra.
"We need an eco-system to work with in the entertainment industry; no city in the world has the eco-system like West Bengal," added Mitra.
The FICCI conclave in Kolkata also witnessed the presence of some of the biggies and famous names of Bollywood.
Bollywood directors like Mahesh Bhatt, Anurag Basu, Anurag Kashyap, Sujoy Ghosh, Sriram Raghavan discussed the transition of films right from the age of Raja Harishchandra to new generation Barfi.
Tollywood stars like Dev, Jeet, Koel, Abir Chatterjee, Parambrata Chatterjee along with the showman of Bengali industry Prosenjit Chatterjee, who was the convener of the conclave, turned the conclave high on glamous quotient.
Synergies with Bangladesh, the problem of piracy in music and cinema and contribution of Indian cinema in the global periphery were discussed by panelists like Goutam Ghosh, Rituparno Ghosh, Rituparna Sengupta, Babul Supriyo, Sanjay Kutty, Bijay Khemka, Mainak Bhowmik and Jahnu Barua.
The event got its real colour when the most veterans in Indian Cinema like filmmaker Mrinal Sen, actor Soumitra chatterjee and 'Charulata' Madhabi Mukhopadhyay were felicitated by the new generation actors like Jeet, Dev and Koel Mullick respectively.
The big applaud and standing ovation by the audiences enriched the event.
Speaking to IBNS, Soumitra Chatterjee said: "An initiative like this is an encouragement to the breed of new directors who are in need of financial help."
Late icons like filmmaker Yash Chopra, musician Bhupen Hazarika and sitar maestro Pt. Ravi Shankar were paid special homage at the conclave.
Popular Bengali heroine Subhashree Ganguly lit the inaugural lamp in the presence of some senior representatives of the Indian Cinema.
Bangladesh Information and Broadcasting Minister Hasanul Hak Imu was also present to talk on the initiative taking by them to harmonize the tie-ups between India and Bangladesh on the film industry.
(Reporting by Barshali Banerjee)