When most Bengali filmmakers are finding it difficult to pull crowds into theatres, Soumyajit Majumder’s collaboration with SonyLiv would get many envious. Majumder’s directorial debut, ‘Homecoming’, which brings together young talents like Sayani Gupta, Tushar Pandey, Plabita Borthakur, Hussain Dalal, and Soham Majumdar, will have its world premiere of SonyLiv on February 18.
You may ask how it makes Homecoming special? Not many films from Bengal enjoy exclusive release opportunities on digital platforms. Most of them enjoy their digital premieres post their run in the theatres. However, Majumder’s musical is an exception, becoming one of the first few films from Bengal to be exclusively released on SonyLiv.
Set against the backdrop of Durga Puja, ‘Homecoming’ is about a theatre group, which reunites for the first time after seven years in Kolkata at their old rehearsal space. This bungalow now is about to be converted into Kolkata’s first five-star heritage hotel by the Ganges. The ensemble cast features more than 30 actors with almost everyone having a theatre background.
‘Four More Shots Please’ actor Sayani Gupta felt a ‘familiar energy’ on the set of Homecoming. “I have been performing on stage when I was not even three. I have done theatre in Kolkata, Delhi, Pune, and even Mumbai. Unfortunately, for the past few years, I do not have had the time to do theatre, and I feel guilty about it each day. So, I am aware of this addictive energy and that is what I liked the most about Homecoming,” said the ‘Axone’ and ‘Article 15’ actor.
Managing 30 actors on set sounds taxing. But Soumyajit, a familiar face in Bengali cinema, knew he had to handle it with a lot of care. As someone who has closely observed interpersonal dynamics (as he is part of a theatre group), he always wanted to explore the global theme of friendship, love, and trust.
For Soumyajit, ‘Homecoming’ meant coming back to his roots. However, that doesn’t mean it is autobiographical. But then, he said, “It is personal though.” He further added, “Though the film is based in Kolkata, it is a cosmopolitan film and the actors speak in Hindi, Bengali and English.”
‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ actress Plabita Borthakur had come down to shoot in Kolkata only for four days. She agreed to Homecoming because her character, Nargis, is like her. For Hussain Dalal, who recently acted in ‘Call My Agent: Bollywood’, the theatre did the trick. “I had known Soumyajit for more than a decade. He told me the film was about theatre. This is an art form that needs love and recognition. Homecoming is our tribute to the theatre world,” he said.