Berlin, Feb 19 (Calcutta Tube) ‘Arekti Premer Golpo‘ (Just another love story) – a daring, sensitive, layered, gay love story by Bengali filmmaker Kaushik Ganguly got full house at the ongoing Berlin International Film Festival. The film is being shown in the Panorama section of the Berlin festival headed by Wieland Speck, which emphasises gay themes in cinema with Rituparno Ghosh as an actor.
The director says he always dreamt of coming here.
‘Berlin is the Mecca of film and I always dreamed of coming here. But it was still a surprise when my film was selected,’ Ganguly, who earlier explored sexuality in his provocative film ‘Shunyo e Bukey’ (Empty Canvas), told IANS here.
The film also marks filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh’s debut as an actor and all heads turned when he came resplendent in a burgundy turban, velvet choker, salwar kameez, and lipstick and kohl’d eyes to present the film.
This is the third time Rituparno Ghosh is presenting a film in Berlin.
‘I was here with ‘Dahan’ in 1996, ‘Bariwali’ in 2000, and now with ‘Arekti Premer Golpo’,’ Ghosh told IANS.
‘It feels great to be here again, as the audience, particularly at the Panorama, is an evolved one. There is a level of understanding and discourse that is very good. But since it is my first time as actor, it is a bit unnerving,’ said Ghosh who is a real discovery as an actor.
Ghosh is also the creative director of ‘Arekti Premer Golpo’, a film which has not yet been screened in India. With historic, epic and contemporary resonances, it is far more explicit than Onir’s ‘My Brother Nikhil’ and Tarun Mansukhani’s ‘Dostana’.
The film is a quadrangular love story that uses a film-within-a-film format.
Ghosh plays a homosexual film director having an affair with his bisexual cinematographer (Indraneil Sengupta), who is married. Jishu Sengupta plays a photographer with a crush on Ghosh. They are making a documentary on Chapal Bhaduri, a veteran traditional jatra actor who played women’s roles, and plays himself.
But the film also plays out in flashback, with Ghosh playing Chapal when he was young, and the other actors playing his lovers-counterparts in an earlier era.
The screenplay is strong, and the dialogues have a mordant wit. The film is directed with powerful assurance and sophistication, even if it crams in too much.
The team members here include the film’s producer Tapan Biswas of Cinemawalla and cinematographer Soumik Halder.
Says Biswas: ‘It is a dream come true to be here. We were waiting for its Berlin screening, before releasing it in India.’
(Meenakshi Shedde is India Consultant to the Berlin Film Festival and curator to film festivals worldwide. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.)