Tathagata Bhattacherjee has done some wonderful telefilms which catapulted him into the world of feature films with Antarghaat (2001) featuring Victor Banerjee in the main role. He had to wait for more than a decade to direct his second film Seven Days, a thriller that was released a few months back. Astra - The Weapon is his third film. It is being produced under the banner of Adarsh Telemedia Pvt. Ltd. which is a one-stop shop for all production and post-production requirements. Astra – The Weapon is the maiden film produced under the Adarsh Telemedia banner under the chairmanship of its able head, the young Amit Agarwal. Agarwal began his career in the advertising and television world in Mumbai where he worked as editor and compositor for many ad films, television programmes, corporate films, documentaries, short films, etc. He has worked as a Technical Director in several feature films in Indian languages especially Bengali.
Astra- The Weapon is a love story between a dreaded gangster and a committed young journalist. In this love between unequals operating on either side of the law, it is filled with the usual angst-ridden anxieties that normally dog such relationships. “It is an original story by me and I have as well written the screenplay for the film. The film has a very strong underworld backdrop which is the genre of the film. It is challenging for me as not many films in Bengali has been made based on the underworld. I feel I am doing something that the audience here is not very much used to and this would be my USP,” says Bhattacharjee, the director. Joy Mukherjee and Samapika Debnath are paired together for the first time and Joy has been given a completely new look. Others in the cast are Soumitra Chatterjee, Dipankar Dey, Biplab Chatterjee, Shankar Chakraborty and Rajesh Sharma.
It is an unpretentious, straightforward commercial Bengali film targeted at the mass audience that, say its makers, will carry the flavour of mafia films like Sathya, Vaastav and Company but will be softened by the understated culture of Bengal and Bengalis. “I have decided to treat the subject with a realistic touch backed by sophisticated technology to keep the mounting lavish but convincing. Often, an action film suffers from a weak script but Astra is an exception because it has both action and a strong script. I am working towards intense scenes that should give the audience value-for-money in terms of entertainment. What crowns it all is the fact that there is a strong social message in the film,” Bhattacharjee sums up. He will have traversed three genres of cinema through his three feature films. The first was a family melodrama filled with action and violence. The second is a thriller and the third is an unusual love story tinged with a partly realistic treatment. Let us wait and watch how Astra – The Weapon turns out.