Tollywood is known to turn issues of people’s interest into films, but none so quickly and as more relevant than this one. Tollywood filmmaker Suvendu Ghosh (Raj) has completed a Bengali feature film on demonetisation. Ghosh has titled his film Shunyota (Emptiness) and is releasing it on Friday as he wants to hit the screen before the last date of banks accepting old notes of Rs 500 and 1,000, which is December 30.
This is the first film to be produced anywhere in the country on the vexed topic. It will premiere at Nandan, which is one of Bengal’s most prestigious movie halls and is owned by the West Bengal government.
This year 42-year old Ghosh received the best debutant director award in Goa International Film Festival in Dubai.
He started shooting the film on November 26, a mere 18 days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the move.
Starring Arun Guhatharkurta, Arindol Bagchi, Rupali and Swaralipi the film was shot in a coal mine belt near Raniganj. Shooting was completed within a mere seven days.
“After the Prime Minister’s demonetisation announcement, there is a lot of confusion all around. We heard that a man collapsed in a long queue. We thought this can make for a good script,” said the director, who had earlier directed Bengali films such as Bhoy and Chetana.
The story of Shunyota revolves around a mother and daughter who work in the coal mine belt. The daughter is about to get married and the mother, a widow, sells off her land to fund the marriage. However, the Prime Minister’s sudden announcement upsets their lives.
Ghosh is keen on showing the film to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who has emerged as the most strident critic of the demonetisation move. “I would really appreciate if she watches the film,” he said.
The director also told HT that he is not trying to convey any political message through the film. He felt the story had to be told through the life of a common man when the entire country is grappling with currency shortage.
“The old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes can be deposited in bank until December 30. So, I wanted to release my film within this month,” said the director.
He also said that the end of the film is open ended for the audience to draw their own conclusion. “I don’t know whether it’s ignorance on the matter or any miscommunication that has led to this enormous confusion and crisis. I have just tried to tell a story,” he said.
This is Ghosh’s fourth film.
Recently Tollywood has churned out films based on the Sheena Bora murder and massacre at a Dhaka bakery.