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With Raktabeej releasing this Durga Puja, here’s an overview of Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee’s films that highlight real incidents

Apart from their own directorials, many of their productions like Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti and Lokkhichhele have been based on real stories

The Telegraph Published 26.08.23, 05:45 AM
Raktabeej

Raktabeej

They are known to churn out winners right from their debut film, Icche. And even while aiming for the skies, they have one foot placed firmly in the real world. Over more than a decade of entertaining cine-goers, director duo Nandita Roy and Shiboprosad Mukherjee have also drawn inspiration from real incidents that stirred up the city and got people talking. Apart from their own directorials, many of their productions like Brahma Janen Gopon Kommoti and Lokkhichhele have been based on real stories.

“Both Didi and I aim to make relevant films that chronicle the times we are living in. In keeping with that, several real-life incidents have either found mention in our films or we have based our cinema on them,” said Shiboprosad. Their upcoming film, Raktabeej, too is based on the Khagragarh blast that made headlines in 2014. On Mahashtami that year, an explosion occurred in a house in the Khagragarh locality of Burdwan. What apparently looked like an accident zone soon turned out to be a terror den. Here’s an overview of the director duo’s films that highlighted real incidents.

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Raktabeej:

The film — starring Victor Banerjee, Abir Chatterjee, Mimi Chakraborty, Kanchan Mallick, Ambarish Bhattacharya, Satyam Bhattacharya, Debasish Mondal, Devlina Kumar — is about the homecoming of a man, who holds an important portfolio, and how an accidental blast in a firecracker unit unveils a bigger threat to his life.

On October 2, 2014, which coincided with Mahashtami that year, an explosion took place in a two-storeyed building in the Khagragarh locality of Burdwan. Locals informed the police, who sprang into immediate action. When the police arrived, two women inside the building stopped them from entering, threatening to blow up the building and destroy several documents and evidence. They were arrested and the police recovered more than 50 improvised explosive devices in that house.

Raktabeej is a film set against the backdrop of Durga Puja. Nanditadi and I decided to release the film this Puja, and this is our first directorial feature to release during Puja and we are supremely excited. The poster introduces the protagonists, who are seen against the backdrop of the national flag. It is symbolic of their courage, conviction and determination. Each has a goal. Below, there’s a big rally. Now the question is – who are the masked men in the Durga Puja rally? We’ll let it unveil only on the big screen,” said Shiboprosad.

Accident:

The film, which questions erring bus drivers and the system in general, is based on a road accident that took place in 2009. A three-year-old child was crushed to death by a bus in Kestopur. Apparently, the bus driver did not even pull the brakes after mowing down the child. With rampant road accidents and a Class II student of Behala dying recently on his way to school after being hit by a lorry, Accident is more relevant than ever before.

Muktodhara:

Revolving around the transformation of a jailbird, the film highlights the practice of culture therapy in correctional homes. Danseuse Alokananda Roy had introduced culture therapy to convicts and she found immense support in former IG (Prison) BD Sharma. One of her first productions was Valmiki Pratibha, written by Rabindranath Tagore on robber Ratnakar’s transformation to sage Valmiki, who eventually wrote Ramayana. Starring Rituparna Sengupta in the lead, the film touched the right chords. The biggest find of the film was Nigel Akkara.

Ramdhanu:

A film on harried parents and the extent to which they travel in order to get their wards admitted to English-medium schools, not many know that Ramdhanu draws inspiration from reality. Apart from children, who are trained to take school admissions seriously, grooming schools have spawned for parents that cater to their needs. The directors found out about such schools and weaved a story around it, wrapping it all up with dollops of humour. Ramdhanu was made in Malayalam with the title, Salt Mango Tree.

Praktan:

A mature love story, the film saw the comeback of the hit pair of Prosenjit Chatterjee and Rituparna Sengupta in mainstream cinema after a hiatus. While Rituparna essayed the role of an architect, Prosenjit’s character was loosely based on the experiences of Ritwik Chakraborty of Calcutta Walks that organises walking tours of the city for all and sundry.

Posto:

Posto made waves for its unusual content. The film questioned if biological parents should be everything to a child vis-a-vis those who bring them up. The film is currently being made in Hindi. Titled Shastry vs Shastry, the film will also mark the director duo’s foray into Hindi cinema.

Haami:

A sweet story of friendship between Bhutu and Chini, Haami is hard-hitting in equal measure.

Konttho:

The film is based on the trauma-to-triumph journey of Bibhuti Bhushan Chakraborty. Despite losing his voice box, he fought on, inspiring millions in the process. Bibhuti Bhushan Chakraborty was detected with laryngeal cancer in 1972. He had to undergo surgery to remove his voice box two years later. Despite the odds, he learnt to speak in an esophageal voice and emerged victorious in his fight against the disease. Konttho was made in Malayalam as Meri Awaz Suno.

Belashuru:

The directors were touched by the story of a real-life couple Pabitra Chitto Nandi and Geeta Nandi. When Geeta Nandi lost her memory to Alzheimer’s, Pabitra Chitto Nandi followed an unusual route. He re-married her with a proper ceremony to revive her memory. Not only would he bathe and feed her, he did everything so that she could remember him as her husband. This exemplary love story was portrayed on screen by Soumitra Chatterjee and Swatilekha Sengupta. Both have left for their heavenly abode, but their stories live on through this film.

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