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Bollywood’s new-found passion to depict the real on reel continues with Pankh — the first arthouse venture from Sanjay Gupta’s White Feather Films.

Based on the story of child actor Ahsaas Channa — the boy in films like Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna and Vaastu ShastraPankh strives to explore the mental dilemma and the identity crisis that the androgynous protagonist goes through. For screen boy Ahsaas Channa is actually a girl.

Pankh’s 60-second promo is riveting. Shot predominantly in black-and-white, the promo doesn’t waste time in getting to the core of the film — a little boy is being readied for a movie shot, but when he emerges from the make-up room, he is shown as a child actress called Baby Kusum.

The next couple of shots tug at the heartstrings — the boy refuses to dress up as a girl while his mother (played by Lillette Dubey) coaxes, cajoles, rebukes and even hits him for refusing to obey her.

The promo then shows the boy all grown up, but facing the problem that has been plaguing him since childhood — a deep-rooted identity crisis.

The next 20 seconds focus completely on the young man (played by newcomer Maradona Rebello) — a dropout-turned-drug addict. As he struggles to discover his true self, he is shown rebelling against his mother and getting violent with whoever tries to get close to him.

Bipasha Basu — Pankh’s biggest draw — appears in the last few seconds of the promo. In a strange, surreal setting Bipasha— clad in a wine-coloured gown — is shown calling out to the young man and he starts following her, as if in a trance.

At the very end we discover that Bipasha is actually the protagonist’s alter ego. He fantasises about her and she becomes an indelible part of his imaginary world. Last shot: The camera focuses on Maradona — depressed and desolate.

Pankh tries to explore a complex maze of relationships formed out of repressed homosexuality, exploitative relationships. It is also a behind-the-scenes look at the not-so-glamorous facets of the glamorous world of showbiz.

Promoted as a socially relevant film, Pankh has been directed by National Award winning director Sudipto Chattopadhyay. Comprising a supporting cast of Mahesh Manjrekar and Ronit Roy, Pankh’s music has been scored by Raju Singh.

Pankh is scheduled for a January release.

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