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The Scavenger of Dreams director Suman Ghosh: ‘Fascinating how garbage connects rich and poor’

The film was premiered at the Busan International Film Festival

PTI New Delhi Published 07.10.23, 01:06 PM
Suman Ghosh

Suman Ghosh

An article about how the rich and the poor are connected through garbage inspired filmmaker Suman Ghosh to make his latest film "The Scavenger of Dreams", which had its premiere at the prestigious Busan International Film Festival.

Starring Shardul Bhardwaj of the "Eeb Allay Ooo!" fame and National award winning actor Sudipta Chakraborty, the film was screened under A Window on Asian Cinema section on Thursday.


Ghosh, a National award-winning filmmaker known for "Dwando", "Nobel Chor" and "Kadambari", said he wanted to highlight the plight of those left behind in the "so called modern and globalised world" through a garbage collector and his family from Bihar who make a living by collecting trash from posh localities of Kolkata.

"The idea was sparked by an article in the New York Times and it had an interesting line: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. It was about a garbage collector in California where billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg and other IT tycoons live...

"I found it fascinating that the only connection between the richest economic strata and the lowest economic strata is the garbage... And I thought it is true for every place in the world," Ghosh told PTI in a virtual interview from Miami.

"The Scavenger of Dreams" is the director's second Hindi film after the yet-to-be released "Aadhaar", starring "Mukkabaaz" fame Vineet Kumar Singh. Ghosh said "The Scavenger of Dreams" is an experimental film that he and the cast were keen to do as it is about people living on the margins.

"It is a comment on our society. Currently as we are, we live in a very modernised society, a so called globalised world. But there is a huge section of this society, which we actually turn our eyes away from.

"We don't bother to look at what is happening to them and whether they are adjusting to this fast-paced, highly modernised and techno world. We don't care whether they are given the tools to adapt to these changes. The world has changed in many dimensions, but for a certain strata of society, it has not changed at all," he said.

The filmmaker, a Busan veteran, returned to the festival for the fifth time with "The Scavenger of Dreams". Ghosh said the festival, one of the most respected cinema gatherings in Asia, has been extremely kind to him.

His films "Nobel Theif", "Uncle Shyamal Turns off the Lights", "Peace Haven", "Mi Amor" and "Aadhaar" also had their screenings at Busan.

In the story, Birju and his wife Sona's dreams and aspirations are "formed through the garbage they collect. It also affects the stories that they tell their daughter", he said.

"I found it fascinating that their dreams are formed through the garbage of someone else," Ghosh added.

The filmmaker said he had seen Shardul's impressive turn as a monkey chaser in "Eeb Allay Ooo!" and wanted to cast the FTII graduate for this film.

"Luckily, my DoP Ravi Kiran Ayyagari, who is also from the Pune Film Institute, Shardul was his, I think, junior in the institute. So when I went to Bombay once, he arranged a meeting with Bhardwaj.

"I wanted someone who would genuinely be interested in honestly portraying the character. And as a person, I found that Shardul is very empathetic and genuinely egalitarian in his views." It is his fourth collaboration with Chakraborty and the director said the actor also believed in his vision.

"This is not a film which will give you money. This will probably not give you fame or other things which come working in a big project. But I needed to make this film from the core of my heart, and hence I needed actors who might be big in their own fields or whatever, but who believed in my cause." The filmmaker, who worked with Bengali cinema icon Soumitra Chatterjee in "Podokkhep", is collaborating with Sharmila Tagore and Rituparna Sengupta for his next film "Puratan". He will begin shooting for the movie in December.

"Sharmila Tagore is working in a Bengali film, I don't know, after 15 years or so. She last worked in "Antaheen". I saw 'Gulmohar' recently and then I asked her whether she had seen my previous films. I was fortunate that she loved my previous films. I read the script to her and she absolutely loved it," he said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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