German’s Kolkata Masterplan

As he waited in front of Writers’ Buildings for a chance to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on a Wednesday afternoon,a foreigner sitting on a bench and staring at the majestic state secretariat building didn’t catch the attention of the passersby.

Written by Express News Service | Published:October 7, 2012 5:49 am

As he waited in front of Writers’ Buildings for a chance to meet Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on a Wednesday afternoon,a foreigner sitting on a bench and staring at the majestic state secretariat building didn’t catch the attention of the passersby. But this is a man on a mission who wants to interview the chief minister for his next documentary on the city,which the TMC chief has vowed to make London.

Till Passow,the Munich-born maker of the critically acclaimed Howrah Howrah ,is all set to start shoot for his next work which will highlight the traffic woes of the city.

“The new chief minister is already doing so much good work to beautify the city. There are so many visible changes like the lights on the streets and benches to sit at many places. I would love to interview her for the documentary as I want to talk to her and know her views regarding the master plan for Kolkata traffic,which is already being worked upon. I just applied through a formal letter and hopefully will get a chance to meet her for the film,” the bespectacled German said after stepping out of Writers’ Buildings.

Titled Kolkata Masterplan, this film,to be set 20 years later in a futuristic Kolkata,intends to take the points of view of not only the chief minister but also the city police chief,KMDA officials,traffic experts and even street vendors and pavement dwellers. “I want the personal master plans of these vendors to feature in the film,as in where do they see themselves in this city 20 years down the line,” he said.

According to Passow,some statistics say that in the next 20 years the traffic on the streets of Kolkata would be so baffling and the major arteries of the city would get so clogged that the approximate speed of vehicles on the road will be 3km/hour.

The short 20-odd minute-long documentary,which will be shot over the next four weeks,is another attempt by this filmmaker to do something for the people of the city he “loves”.

“I first came to Kolkata in 2000-2001 as an exchange student at SRFTI. It was a life-changing experience and the result was Howrah Howrah. Since then I have been here for more than 10 times,” Passow said,while lighting up a bidi. The 44-year-old German,who is now based in Berlin,gets his brand of bidi from a shop in New Market whenever he is in town and packs up stocks till he comes back again.

After this film is complete,Passow wants to make a full-length documentary on a city-based group of visually challenged artistes,Blind Opera. “I will come again in January for final research on the project,” he said.

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