A still from the film What..?? shot at Domuhani. Telegraph picture
Jamshedpur may just be the lucky location to launch tinsel dreams of debut directors.
Remember Vikramaditya Lootera Motwane’s cult directorial debut — the coming-of-age film Udaan — where Jamshedpur, the city, was as much of a character as troubled teen Rohan and his stern father?
Another filmmaker, this time the Calcutta-based Soumendu Bhattacherya (39) is romancing the industrial city — more of its outskirts, though — for his first feature film, a 90-minute bilingual (English and Hindi) titled What..??
Bhattacherya, who did his first round of location shooting in Jamshedpur from September 20 to 22 before stints in North Bengal and Odisha, said the “excellent locales of Domuhani and Dimna Lake” inspired him. “I’ll be back again after my location shoots in Bengal and Odisha,” said the debut director who has honed his skills by being at the helm of acclaimed documentary films.
An SRFTI-Calcutta alumnus, whose documentary Forest Medicine was the inaugural film in Florence International Film Festival, 2006, also heads the department of direction at Roopkala Kendro, Calcutta, an institute of film and social communication, information and cultural affairs department, Bengal government.
Now, Bhattacherya hopes to tell “engrossing, thought-provoking fiction on film”.
And not just any old story. “What happens when a man forgets his self, love, religion and sets foot on a new life, roads, rivers, jungles, oceans to understand the meaning of existence?” the director asks.
Then, he quickly grins: “There’s an unexpected love angle too.”
Actor Faiz Khan, formerly known as Md Faiz Alam when he played the role of the boss of chilling villain Bob Biswas in the Vidya Balan-starrer Kahaani, is the leading man. Interestingly, the female lead is Sanchari Dutta, a student of Karim City College.
“I’ll say the story is shaping up well,” the director said. “It’s an industrial city that has excellent locales for shooting nature. Filmmakers spend big money going abroad. They should know the kind of locales available just 250km from Calcutta,” he said, warm in praise of Jamshedpur.
When his film makes a splash at international film festivals — “fingers crossed for Festival De Cannes and the Berlin International Film Festival” — let’s hope the city also comes for its share of the glory.
What gives Jamshedpur its edge as a film location? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org