It’s a saffron star cast rarely seen, or heard, on the silver screen. Bengal governor Keshari Nath Tripathi, minister of state for heavy industries Babul Supriyo and Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) chairman Gajendra Chauhan have come together for a bilingual film (Bengali and Hindi) endorsing inclusion of Bhagavad Gita in the school syllabus.
Tripathi has penned a song, the playback of which will be done Babul Supriyo in the film. The music will be composed by Soumitra Kundu.
The film will be in Bengali (Jowar Bhata) and Hindi (Rishtey). It will be directed by Kolkata-based filmmaker Milan Bhowmik, who has done a few potboilers earlier (such as Satyameba Jayate and Matribhumi).
The Bengal governor occasionally writes poetry and has a few books to his credit.
The film, a relationship drama, is supposed to deliver the message of faith in Gita. “When I went to Raj Bhavan to invite the governor for the mahurat of our new film (Rishtey), and narrated him the storyline, he liked it immensely. In fact, he read out a poem from his book, advised me to use it as a song and even suggested the background score that can go with it,” said Bhowmik.
Gajendra Chauhan plays the role of a doctor, who is the son of an ex-military officer played by Alok Nath.
“People swear by the sacred book in a court of law before giving any evidence. But criminals who are also taking oath in the court don’t speak the truth. They don’t know the inner meaning of Gita. This realisation dawned on me a few years ago and I thought of making a film. If we swear by the Gita to speak the truth, why isn’t Bhagavad Gita being made mandatory in the school syllabus? My film will touch upon this issue,” said the director.
Bhowmik has directed 1946 Calcutta killings another bilingual film which is yet to be released. Gajendra Chauhan is playing the role of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee in that film. The film ran into controversy in the way it portrayed India’s first prime minister.
On October 20, Bhowmik will move supreme court on the film 1946 Calcutta Killings after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) rejected it.
Will Rishtey, too, court controversy? “It’s not a religious film. We will have a better understanding of life if we read Gita. Reading Gita gave me the inspiration to speak the truth and hence I wanted to make this film,” he says.
Rishtey will go on floors on November 3 and will be shot in Jorethang and Yumthang Valley.
The film will also feature Bengali actors such as Raaj, Joy Badlani, Mrinal Mukherjee, Papiya Adhikary and Moushumi Saha. It will be shot at Ramoji Film City.
“Alok Nath plays a retired and paralysed military officer. The character questions the existing system where an ex-military officer draws less pension than a retired politician. The song penned by the governor exudes the pathos and pain of a soldier who thinks why did he serve the country at the borders and does he really deserve this treatment?,” says the director.