"Stolen", an edge-of-the-seat thriller from India, will receive its world premiere at the 2023 edition of the Venice Film Festival, the makers have announced.
The 90-minute Hindi film will be screened at the festival under the Orizzonti Extra section, which showcases "a selection of up to 10 works aimed at innovating and demonstrating creative originality in the relationship with the public they are meant for".
Set against the backdrop of a remote rural railway station in India, "Stolen" is directed by Karan Tejpal and produced by Gaurav Dhingra of Jungle Book Studio. It stars Abhishek Banerjee, Shubham and Mia Maelzer.
The makers said "Stolen" unfolds the gripping tale of a five-month-old baby abducted from her mother, a downtrodden woman named Jhumpa Mahato.
"This heart-wrenching incident draws the attention of two urban brothers, Gautam and Raman, leading them into a labyrinth of challenges that test their relationships and convictions," a press release stated.
Banerjee, known for "Stree", "Paatal Lok" and "Bhediya", said "Stolen" has been one of the most challenging roles in his career.
"The character I portray is vastly different from who I am in real life. It compelled me to delve into the depths of human emotions and experiences, demanding a level of authenticity and vulnerability that pushed me beyond my comfort zone. The film's representation of India at the prestigious Venice Film Festival is undoubtedly a monumental achievement, I am honoured," the actor said in a statement.
Tejpal and Dhingra said the selection of the film for the prestigious gala is a moment of immense pride for them.
"This film has been a labour of love and the coming together of extraordinary talent striving to create something exceptional. The festival has a rich history of showcasing remarkable films that have left a mark on the world of cinema, and we're honoured to be in such esteemed company.
"As we prepare to present 'Stolen' on this illustrious platform, we are humbled by the opportunity and excited to contribute to the legacy of the Venice Film Festival," they said in a joint statement.
The 80th edition of the Venice Film Festival will run through August 30 to September 9.
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