Fifty-two days after the massacre in Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka, a Kolkata-based director has begun shooting for a Hindi film on the worst terrorist attack in the neighboring country with the film scheduled to shoot in locations such as Paris, Barcelona, Montenegro and the borders of Turkey.
Titled Jihaad, the film is directed by Agnidev Chatterjee. On Monday, Chatterjee shot a cafe sequence at a restaurant on Sarat Bose Road, Kolkata with actors Rohit Roy, Rituparna Sengupta and Koneenica Banerjee.
“My film is a thriller. Most of the films on terrorism depicts one-sided views. Terrorism is a relevant and contemporary subject and I felt the need to tell the story to the world,” said the director, whose earlier Bengali film 3 Kanya had references to the Park Street rape case.
The film has quite a few similarities with the incident. Gunmen, who attacked the cafe in Dhaka on the July 1, had asked the hostages to recite verses from the Holy Quran, and spared those who could.
The director will recreate a similar situation in the film where Rohit (Avishek), who plays a photojournalist, is asked to recite verses from the Holy Quran. He and his wife (Koneenica Banerjee) were at a cafe, when militants suddenly attacked it.
“In the film, we are showing Avishek reciting some verses in Arabic language, but these are from a Hindu holy book. The militants spared him thinking he has recited verses from the Holy Quran. However, they kill his wife,” Chatterjee told HT.
“But jihad doesn’t mean killing innocent people. The real meaning of jihad is to fight your own inner demons. In the film, it clearly slows that the militants are not fully aware of the Holy Quran,” he added.
Chatterjee also said he wants to portray how the jihadists are misusing the real essence of the word.
Chatterjee is one of the few filmmakers in Kolkata who make films based on real life events. His next Bengali film, Dark Chocolate, is based on the Sheena Bora murder case.
“I was in Paris with my wife in January and I could feel the tension in air. After the November 13, 2015 attack people were even afraid to gather and enjoy at any spot. Incidents like the Paris attacks, the Dhaka massacre and the Syrian war still shock me. All these compelled me to write a script,” he said.
As the story progresses, after a few years, Avishek ties the knot with Rituparna, who carries the name Aparna. Soon after their marriage, they settle down in Paris. One day, Aparna learns that Avishek, who was on an office assignment in Bosnia, has been abducted.
The director plans to use RD Burman’s superhit music from films Aandhi (1975) and Jeeva (1986) in the film. “We will use the song Roz Roz Aankhon Tale from Jeeva,” he says. The film also stars Shabaaz Khan (as the commander of ISIS), Rajesh Sharma and Rachel White.
Chatterjee, who will shoot in Paris in January 2017, admits that the thought of Paris attacks needles him when he thinks that he has to go to Paris with the crew to shoot. “We will arrange for adequate security,” he said.
In July, director Birsa Dasgupta and his team of about 40 members were caught in the middle of the coup in Turkey where they had gone to shoot an untitled film on gangsters. The unsuccessful coup left almost 200 dead.