Hard times can be a true test for any relationship. And filmmaker Aditya Vikram Sengupta uses that theory as the basis of his debut Bengali film, Aasha Jaoar Majhe-Labour of Love. “Adversity is the greatest test for a couple. And for a married couple, affection can be displayed through the most mundane of daily activities,” says Sengupta, whose film reflects upon the daily routine of a married couple in Kolkata during the global recession of 2009.
The 30-year-old Mumbai-based filmmaker could not have asked for a better platform for a first screening. His film had its World Premiere this Tuesday, at the ongoing Venice Days, a section which is running parallel to the 71st Venice Film Festival at the moment. Sengupta, whose film is up against 15 “official selection” films at the Venice Days, is keeping his fingers crossed. “My film is inspired by a short story written by Italian author Italo Calvino called The Adventure of a Married Couple. It shows the affection of a young married couple who can’t spend enough time with each other,” he says.
This is his third attempt at making a film, after his previous ones were marred by little to no enthusiasm from producers. So for his third attempt, Sengupta formed his own production house, For Films, with wife Jonaki Bhattacharya (also the executive producer for the project) and the two pooled in their resources for the film. To sustain himself Sengupta made commercial ad films in Mumbai and dabbled in his passion: painting. “I have been wanting to make a film for a long time. I hope this film gives me that push,” says Sengupta, a former promo director with a music channel for three years.
The 84-minute film stars Bengali actors Ritwick Chakraborty and Basabdutta Chatterjee as the married couple. The director has taken a bold step for his debut film, since none of the characters have dialogues. “Initially there were dialogues. But they seemed imposed, so we removed them. But it is not a silent film,” insists Sengupta. With no definite plans for an India release, Labour of Love travels to the BFI London Film festival in October, where it will be screened in the First Feature competition section.