Tales dug out from Nandigram to live on celluloid

Shyamali Pramanik’s enduring battle with the state administration to prove that a decapitated body unearthed from a burial mound in Nandigram in December 2007 was that of her husband Haren Pramanik

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopdhyay | Kolkata | Published: September 6, 2013 3:23 am

Shyamali Pramanik’s enduring battle with the state administration to prove that a decapitated body unearthed from a burial mound in Nandigram in December 2007 was that of her husband Haren Pramanik,allegedly killed by CPM goons,has found a telling voice in national award-winning director Ujjwal Chatterjee’s upcoming film.

Inspired by Mahashweta Devi’s short story Adhaba,which,besides Shyamali’s ordeal,deals with Nandigram and Singur farmers’ struggle against the forcible land acquisition,Chatterjee’s Swabhumi is “a confrontation between life and livelihood,between brutal state force and people’s power”.

For two years since the recovery of Haren’s body,Shyamali did everything possible to prove she was the legitimate wife of the slain farm labourer.

Her torment took a turn for the worse when Sumitra Midhha and Annapurna Mondol,residents of the same village,also came forward claiming to be Haren’s wives.

“While Shyamali had the conviction that it was her husband whose body was lying in the morgue,the farmers of Singur and Nandigram saw the land before them but could not do any cultivation,’’ the director,whose earlier films include Utthaan and Escape From Taliban,told The Indian Express.

The film,slated for release on September 13,has Bollywood actors Jackie Shroff,Ameesha Patel and Ashmit Patel in key roles. Besides these,the film also stars Trinamool Congress actor-turned MP Tapas Paul,who plays Shubhendu Adhikary,the Trinamool parliamentarian from Tamluk who led the agitation from the front,and TMC MP from Suri,Satabdi Roy.

While the music has been composed by Bappi Lahiri,singers Shaan and Sunidhi Chauhan have sung the songs.

Chatterjee,who acquired the rights for the film in 2009,had immediately embarked upon the project. But the director had to face obstacles in the form of the Left Front government,which,he says,stood in the way.

“They did not give me the permission to shoot at Singur and Nandigram. It was only after the new government came that I got the permission. I want to show the whole world how people’s power triumphs at the end,’’ Chatterjee says.

For Shubhendu Adhikary,a film dwelling on the story of the farmers’ struggle would be a spirited affair “if the film shows the truth and the trauma that these farmers went through”.

“In fact,I am opposed to any commercialisation of the people’s struggle. I had many offers from various publishers to write on the movement but I refused.

“But if the film depicts the true resilience the farmers showed,I would be very happy,’” Adhikary told The Indian Express.

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