Indo-Bangla film enthralls viewers on both sides

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New Delhi, April 18: When the partition lines of the Indian subcontinent were drawn in 1947, they failed to blur the bonding between human hearts on both sides of India and Bangladesh border and almost seven decades down the line, the story remains the same.

This is nowhere more evident that the rousing response acclaimed director Goutam Ghose’s latest feature film “Sankhachil” got when it hit the theatres in Kolkata and Dhaka on the same day.

“Sankhachil” having a cast drawn from Bengali cinema on the two sides of the border including superstar Prosenjit Chatterjee of India and Kusum Sikder of Bangladesh in lead roles, hit the screens in Bangladesh and Kolkata simultaneously on the first day of Bangla New Year on April 14.

Before its release, a special premiere of the film was held in Dhaka on April 12 evening when a host of distinguished guests including Bangladesh Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, himself an accomplished actor, leading Bangladeshi producers Faridur Reza Sagor, Prosenjit, Goutam Ghose, Kusum, veteran Bangladeshi actor Mamunur Rashid and others attended the premiere show.

The film, a joint production of Ashirbad Cholochchitro, Impress Telefilm (both of Bangladesh), Prosenjit and Mou Roy Chowdhury of India revolves around the story of a Muslim family living in the Bangladesh-India border region in Satkhira district of Bangladesh, portraying the story of people living in border areas and takes a dig at the man-made boundary that separates people of the two countries.

The film takes audience to the main part which revolves around schoolteacher Muntasir Chowdhury Badol (played by Prosenjit), his wife Laila Chowdhury (Kusum) and their daughter Roopsha (played by Bangladeshi teenager Shajbati) who makes her cinematic debut.

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The film oscillates between the present time and the time of the Partition.

At a promo press conference in Dhaka, Prosenjit rated his role in “Sankhachil” as one of the best he ever played in his career.

Kusum also earned plaudits for the role of Prosenjit’s wife and mother of Roopsha but it is Shahjhbati (Roopshah), who grabs attention “with her outstanding screen presence. Her spontaneity and natural acting made the story realistic to its best,” according to leading Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star.

The film also features a motley assembly of actors from India and Bangladesh including Deepankar De, Ushoshi Chakraborty, Arindam Shil, Prabir Mitra, Rosy Siddiky, Riaz Mahmud Jewel, Shakil Ahmed, Shahed Ali, Anum Rahman Khan, and Priyangshu Chattopadhyay.

Prosenjit said as an actor, he felt great that his film is releasing in two countries simultaneously. “I am also proud that it has won National Film Award in India before its release. The entire team worked hard to make it a success,” he added.

The actor recalled how West Bengal Governor K N Tripathi, who is not a Bengali, was so impressed by “Sankhachil” that he stayed back to watch the entire film at a special show of the film in Kolkata for him although before the screening he had said that he would not watch it for more than 30 minutes.

Prosenjit said his character in the film, who had played the lead role in another Goutam Ghose-directed film “Moner Manush”, gave him space to show his acting prowess.

Asked how he saw his role in “Sankhachil” in his acting career, the actor said “If I count 10 films as the greatest films in my career, I would say ‘Sankhachil’ is one of them.

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Badol is one of the best characters I ever played in my career.”

Bangladeshi producer Habibur Rahman Khan, who first shot into fame in India and Bangladesh by producing Ritwik Ghatak’s “Titas Ekti Nodir Naam” in 1972 and is also one of the producers of “Sankhachil”, said there is a good market in both the countries for meaningful English film or a Bangladeshi movie or a Hindi or an Indian-Bangla film at theatres.

Khan was also one of the producers of Goutam Ghose’s previous joint India-Bangladesh film “Padma Nadir Majhi” way back in 1990s that also has cast from the two countries including Utpal Datta, Rupa Ganguly, Robi Ghosh, Gulshan Akhtar Champa and Raisul Islam Asad.

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