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The X-factor afoot & the healing

The spirit has a will of its own, writes Ipsita Roy Chakraverti in her book, Sacred Evil: Encounters with the Unknown.

The self-proclaimed wiccan also believes the 'X-factor' is playing a part in the shooting of Sacred Evil, the film adapted from one of the case studies in her book.

The joint venture between Sahara One and Percept Productions stars Sarika, who plays Ipsita. The film is currently being shot with an 'international cast' behind closed doors, in various locations across the city.

Sacred Evil, the ninth and last story in the book, is about a nun who was hounded by her troubled past and for whom the convent eventually sought counselling from the wiccan.

For Ipsita, this is one of the most startling cases she has encountered in her career.

'I am a Jungian psychotherapist and Carl Gustav Jung believed that each man has a 'shadow self' which is vulnerable or even the perpetrator of the darker side. The shadow is at work, but most often, we don't recognise it. In my book, I have also questioned whether it is just this or a supernatural force beyond which is at work,' says Chakraverti, who had studied the western traditions of witchcraft in Montreal decades ago and later pursued the Indian branch of Dakini Vidya.

Sahara One approached her last August to make a film on Sacred Evil, but the wiccan was reluctant to play herself on the big screen when offered the role.

As creative director, Ipsita has helped pen the script, incorporating large chunks of dialogue from her story.

Her task entails keeping a sharp eye on detail to retain authenticity in the treatment.

'I told the production team how the protagonist reacted in certain situations, since I had lived the story, and how the dialogue happened,' explains the best-s elling author of Beloved Witch, an autobiographical work.

'I also insisted that the film be shot in Calcutta, though others had suggested other places, because it's here where I have done most of my therapies.'

The other and more important task was familiarising Sarika with the ways of a wiccan. 'We had several sittings before going for the shoot. Sarika wanted to imbibe me. So, she came down to Delhi and lived with me for a while. I showed her how the healing took place and how certain rituals had been conducted,' says Ipsita.

Though the film is part of Sahara-Percept's collaborative effort to capture a slice of the box-office with a string of big-screen projects, Ipsita is not worried about Sacred Evil lapsing into the popular format of a suspense thriller, with spooky elements thrown in for good measure.

'I have had some creative control over the film and haven't found anything sensational in the treatment. The director, Abhiyan Jha, also has a tremendous interest in the subject,' she reasons.

'Besides, the Sahara people felt this kind of a film could change some popular superstitions about the subject ' the psychological supernatural,' adds Ipsita, who feels not many Indian films, apart from Mahal and Kshudito Pashan, have 'treated the esoteric or the supernatural in a beautiful way'.

And for all the unresolved loose strands dangling at the end of the story in her book, Ipsita's advice to her readers would be to 'wait and watch'.

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