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From Script to Screen : The journey of Bengal’s very own Jyotsna Chakraborty

Written by The Optimist

More familiar as a habit of despots, censor scriptwriters and their authorial efforts can quash many an idea, concept or even a plot. It is difficult to do justice at times, prioritise complicated concepts and give them incredible twists and turns. Such has been Jyotsna Chakraborty’s journey after almost 450 Bengali films as a censor scripter — delving into the deep horizon with fiery confidence, topped with critical smashes and getting rewarded with much fame and acclaim in the end

For Jyotsna Chakraborty, life was more than a cavalry charge. And when things went totally against her, she decided to fight back with dogged defiance.

For two decades, she spared no effort to find a place for herself and strike a scripted resurrection. On one hand, she singlehandedly fought the lawsuit with her failed marriage and on the other, she took up the challenge of bringing up her son on her own. In the beginning, she took up the task of composing in Bengali and then got an opportunity with a project with the Public Works Department, West Bengal. Due to unforeseen circumstances, she had to discontinue the job. Jyotsna also had a short stint as a LIC agent but that wasn’t much fruitful. 2001 was a real turning point in her life. She got an opportunity to work in Late Rama Prasad Banik’s ‘Jemon Bolben Sir’. Popular playwright, actor and minister in the West Bengal Cabinet Bratya Basu gave her a chance to go ahead with censor script for his Bengali film ‘Rasta’.

“It isn’t that I was well versed with the format of the censor script. In fact, at that time, the internet was not at all an affordable one like it is today. I was rather skeptical about the whole thing but I did not have any other option,” says Jyotsna.

 

Jyotsna Chakraborty is known for her work and expertise

 

Incidentally, censor script is an integral part of the post-production work for any film. In India, every producer has to obtain a censor certificate before going for public exhibition in theatres and cinema halls. Jyotsna has exercised the art of writing censor scripts and in the domain of Bengali cinema, she has completed 450 films.

Jyotsna herself acknowledges: “Basically, I have stopped counting after the 450-mark. But I consider every project to be equally important. The only formula for this task is perfection. Any error can ultimately invite a negative response from the censor board.”

A proud Bengali and someone who has been reading film scripts almost every day, Jyotsna is equally adept in translation. In fact, she has written subtitles for so many Bengali films which have won laurels in the international film circuit.

Jyotsna’s work in this movie was applauded by the film fraternity

Although she has been offered to write scripts, Jyotsna has categorically avoided that. A few years back when the serial ‘Devi’ was aired, Jyotsna happened to be the key person to pen the script with due assistance from her seniors. In fact, she remembers: “Once director Prabhat Roy requested me to write a few scenes and I was happy that the director didn’t omit them.” Writing censor script is a tedious job and unfortunately, the payment in Bengal is not at all motivating. Yet committed individuals like Jyotsna are going for it. Jyotsna’s only son Arani is now well-established and she gives full credit to her abilities and the Bengali film industry. “Probably, only in Bengal, you will have such space and motivation. I have faced adversities but life has surprised me as well. My life has become synonymous with the innumerable penetrative film scenes,” she signs off.

 

Looking back, Jyotsna definitely has her share of amazing experiences, working on scripts of almost all the leading actors and actresses of the Bengali film industry. As the profile demands, she has seen films quite diligently and thus, she is a committed film buff. She added: “The Bengali film industry has taken a big leap in the last 10 years. I remember when I was working on the much-acclaimed ‘Sohoj Pather Golpo’, I was quite sure that Bengali audience would definitely accept it. I would also love to mention a Hollywood project where Riddhi Sen played a pivotal role. The film got wide publicity and went to the Oscars as well. I was so happy to work in such an interesting project.”

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