Bengali film by Lankan director gets Cannes call

Updated: Apr 18, 2011, 13:38 PM IST

Kolkata: Chhatrak (Mushroom), a Bengali film by Sri Lankan director Vimukthi Jayasundara has been selected for the upcoming Cannes Film Festival`s Directors` Fortnight section.

An independent section, the Directors` Fortnight is held in parallel to the main festival and invites cinematic talent from all over the world. The section was created in 1969.

"It is a great news for everybody involved with the film as well as Bengali cinema. It will also help in fostering more film collaboration among SAARC countries," the film`s executive producer Bappaditya Bandopadhyay told PTI.

Talking about the making of the movie, Bandyopadhyay said "We discussed about the script with Vimukthi. The credit for the film`s success goes to him and the actors and technicians. It is a privilege to work with him."

Bandyopadhyay, whose `Houseful` starring Prosenjit was acclaimed at Osian`s, said the Cannes honour was more touching because all the artiste are from Bengal except one German actor.

"Bengali films can reach international standard with the arrival of top-notch directors, who can come out of the conformist cocoon and explore the talent here. What we need now is more collaborations to make the dent internationally," Bandyopadhyay said.

Comparing his Pune institute friend Vimukthi`s film sojourn in Bengal with the making of `The River` by Renoir in the 50s, he quipped, "Yes, let us see if the post-River phase can be recreated in the Bengali cinema again in this changed times."

Vimukhi, who had been greatly influenced by legends like Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak in his film making career, had said while making the movie that it was kind of his tribute to these great film makers of Bengal.

The protagonist of the film, titled Mushroom to signify rootlessness in an urban milieu, is a non-resident Bengali architect who comes to Kolkata in search of his brother. He loves communicating with nature more than human beings. While upcoming Tollywood actor Rahul essayed the role, Paoli is the lead actress.

The film`s producer Vinod Lahoti said he got the news from the cannes festival authorities via an e-mail.

"Once the shooting was in progress in November I could feel the film will create history but I am grateful to Vimukthi and Bappaditya for helping me to be part of such a prestigious project."

Terming Mushroom as an international project, with strong Indian and Bengal connections, he said the cast including Paoli and the director will certainly attend the screening of the film, the date of which will be fixed by Monday-Tuesday next. The festival begins on May 11.

Vimukthi`s first feature `The Forsaken Land` won the 2005 Cannes Film Festival Camera d`Or, being the first Sri Lankan to win the prestigious award.