Set to see its world premiere at Busan International Film Festival that began October 21, Suman Mukhopadhyay’s Nazarband (Captive) is a typically low-budget film and most of its portions were shot sneakily on the streets of Kolkata.
Mr Mukhopadhyay, who won India’s National Film Award for his directorial debut Herbert in 2005, opens up about his upcoming film, starring India Tiwari (who has been immensely praised for her act in Sudhir Mishra’s Serious Men) and Tanmay Dhanania (of Brahman Naman and Made in Heaven fame).
Inspired by a short story by noted Bengali writer Ashapurna Devi, it traces Vasanti (Tiwari) and Chandu (Dhanania) – an unlikely pair of two jailbirds as they experience a harrowing journey across the intimidating terrain of Kolkata. Nazarband is a visceral look at survival and a heartfelt exploration into the depths of companionship and the meaning of rejection and acceptance.
Talking about the experience of shooting the film on real locations (busy, crowded streets of Kolkata in humid and hot weather), Mr Mukhopadhyay says, “We used to pick the camera and be parked at our location. And, because we did not have too much money, we would often head to these locations without a permission to shoot. We would often get away with the shots. I must thank my DOP – London based Kate Mcdonough – who agreed to brave the weather as well as the crowds with me. She was ready to run with the camera on those busy streets.”
The filmmaker adds that it was a conscious decision to cast comparatively new faces in the film. “With no vanity vans, the weather and a lack of security due to limited funds, I could not expect a star to work with us. I was clear that I needed faces that won’t vbe recognized on the streets,” he says.
The film has also been shot in Jharkhand and Bihar, apart from West Bengal. It also captures moments from the famous Sonepur Mela (fair) in Indian state of Bihar.
But how did he manage to shoot an entire feature film, in real locations, without the required permits? The filmmaker claims he would often persuade the traffic cops on duty with his charm. “A few times, we would get caught and then convince the cops that we were not shooting but just scouting the location.”
Mukhopadhyay has previously directed critically acclaimed films Herbert, Asamapta (Incomplete), Posham Pa, and Kangal Malsat (War Cry of the Beggars).
Unlike the popular belief, Mr Mukhopadhyaya opines that the pandemic-induced lockdown across India had a negative effect on smaller films. “With bigger production houses and studios moving to something like Netflix NFLX , these OTT platforms are not taking up small films now. Earlier, the big films would go to theaters and smaller ones had digital platforms but that has been snatched away in this six-month-long shutdown of cinemas.”
He expresses hopes that things get back to normal soon and is sure that the production houses will then move away from OTT. Reminded that past three-fours years have sen a surge in number of digital platforms, the filmmaker insists not every platform is ready to pay for this type of content. The kind of money a platform like Netflix offers, is nowhere near what, say an MX Player offers to filmmakers,” he adds.
The music of the film is composed by Prabudhdha Banerjee and sound designed by Bigyna Dahal. The film is written by Anustup Basu, Asad Hussain and Suman Mukhopadhyay and produced by Pawan Kanodia & AVA Film Productions.
Nazarband is set for the world premiere at the 25th Busan International Film Festival on Wednesday, October 28.
Source: Forbes – Business