The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A bit of Berlin

The last time Oscar-winner Florian Gallenberger was in town, he was fascinated by the tramcar. “Very soon, I am going to make a film on this city with trams as the backdrop,” he had told friends.

The winner of Best Short Film-Live Action for Quiero Ser (I want to be...) in 2001, is back in Calcutta, as promised, finalising his next venture, Shadows of Time (working title) that should go on the floors in February 2003 as Samayer Chhaya.

Veteran German filmmaker Norbert Preuss, known for Das Experiment, Anatomy and Amazon, is producing this Bengali film tracing the life of a brothel girl, Masha. Playing Masha is National School of Drama passout Tanishta Chatterjee.

“Though I was educated in New Delhi, I spent my childhood at my grandmother’s place in Barrackpore, by the Ganges,” says Tanishta, last seen in Swaraj at the film festival in Calcutta. “The role of Masha is most challenging, as it traverses a wide span of time and emotions.”

Bollywood star Vivek Oberoi had almost been finalised for the role of Masha’s friend, a factory hand, till Gallanberger found him “too muscular”. Now, Prashant Narayanan (of Chhal fame) has been signed on. Vijay Raaz of Monsoon Wedding will be the government officer who gives the girl a new life, while his co-star in Mira Nair’s film, Tilottama Shome, also plays a part.

Casting director Dilip Shankar is presently tracking down some young talents in Tollywood. “When we start shooting in February, we will mainly hit areas in north and central Calcutta. A considerable portion will be shot in Howrah,” says executive producer Pallabi Biswas. Both Gallenberger and Preuss were unavailable for comment.

The Bengali script is now being readied for the film, “a German government subsidy”.

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