Databazaar Media has reason to celebrate. The first ever Bengali Film Festival in London held from 18th to 20th May, features films that have been acquired by Databazaar Media except perhaps one or two. The festival was organized by the Harrow Arts Center under the supervision of Sangbad Pratidin. The festival was aptly titled Pratidin Probash Parboni Film Festival. The Festival was sponsored by Universal Success Enterprises (USE), powered by Camellia Group and the TV partner was Channel 10. Databazaar Media has already acquired the distribution, streaming, screening, telecasting rights of Aparajita Tumi, Nobel Chor, Bhooter Bhabisyat, Egaro and Royal Bengal Rohosso for North America and Canada.
The screening programme comprised of Egaro directed by Arun Roy, Balukabela.com not released in India yet, Sandip Ray’s Royal Bengal Rohosso, Anik Dutta’s Bhooter Bhabisyat, Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury’s Aparajita Tumi, Nobel Chor directed by Sumon Ghose, and Bappaditya Banerjee’s Elar Char Adhyay based on Rabindranath Tagore’s last novel authored in 1934. Nilanjana Bose representing Pratidin said, “We have experienced a lot of discussions over songs and poetry down the timeline by different private initiative. But the medium like Bengali film has always been ill-treated particularly at overseas. We were thinking of such a project for a long.” The selection of films represents an ideal collage of contemporary Bengali cinema mainly dealing with off-mainstream subjects that have met with commercial success.
Celebrities from the Bengali film world who flew down to attend the festival were Parambrata Chatterjee, Rudranil Ghose, Locket Chatterjee, Director duo Anik-Aniruddha, and Paoli Dam. Anik was overwhelmed by the crowds that gathered to watch his film. “We were a bit concerned about whether the seats would fill up or not in the beginning. But for my film, perhaps the word had already spread and people turned out by the dozens and many missed out because the show was sold out and it was the only show of Bhooter Bhabisyat,” said Anik. “Then Parambrata addressed the gathering and requested them to organize another bigger event of Bengali film screenings so that everyone could get the opportunity to watch the film,” he sums up, thrilled to bits. People who crowded in by the dozens were not only from London but also from Birmingham, Litton, Cardiff and other places.
Sudipta Basu, one of the organizers is amazed at the turnout at such short notice. He expressed interest about similar proposals pouring in from North England and Midlands. “Next year we have plans to make it more elaborate, including the mainstream movies, which are also assuming a new glossy look with shots in foreign locales. There is a sizeable Bengali population about 250000 in UK spread over places like Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and next year we would shuffle the film screenings at different venues to reach everybody,” said Sayantan Das, another from the organizing committee.