Speaking your mind

A real story in a newspaper forms the base of this film.

Written by Shoma A. Chatterji | Published:April 20, 2012 12:45 pm

“One morning,I was shocked with a news report. A young father was travelling in the Bongaon Local,a local train with his sick child for treatment in the city. The train stopped near Bamongachhi because protestors had blocked the tracks with bamboos. The man got off the train with his sick child on one arm and removed the bamboos from the track with the other. This motivated the other commuters to get off the train and join him. The train continued on its journey. This was the trigger for the story of 8:08-Er Bongaon Local,” says story and scriptwriter Padmanava Dasgupta. “The incident was an important pointer to the common man raising his voice against unreasonable oppression,humiliation and insult,” adds Padmanava,a well-known writer of Bengali cinema.

8:08-Er Bongaon Local,directed by Debaditya and produced by Torun Routh under the Unimass Entertainment banner,explores the thin line that divides the humane from the predatory. A major portion of the film was shot on a seven-day stretch inside a stationary train at Ballygunge station in Kolkata which adds to the authenticity of the film. “The story revolves around Ananta Das (Tapas Pal),an ordinary commuter who goes to work to Kolkata everyday. He is like everyone else. He hides a tear in a ten-rupee note before passing it off to the rickshawpuller (Raghubir Yadav).”

“The film is centered on the eve-teasing incident in Barasat in February last year,” explains Debaditya. Around the midnight of February 14,Rajib Das,16,brother of 20-year-old Rinku Das was killed by three drunken youngsters while trying to ward off their advances towards his sister. The case created a furore not only because a youth lost his life trying to protect his sister’s honour,but also because Rinku’s efforts to draw help from armed sentries protecting a government official’s bungalow near-by drew a blank. Why? Is it because we remain silent and choose to look the other way? Or is it because we are slowly becoming more predatory and less human?” asks Padmanava.

8:08-Er Bongaon Local boasts an impressive acting cast comprising Manoj Mitra,Rajesh Sharma,Swastika Chakraborty,Haradhan Bandopadhyay,Sonali Choudhury,Anusree Das,Anamika Saha,Samik Sinha and others. Tanmoy Bose has created an imaginative music track with Sreejato’s rich lyrics. Indraneel Ghosh is production designer and Sanjib Dutta has edited the film. Agnimitra Paul has designed the costumes.

“I believe every film should reach beyond its frame and its immediacy and make an impact on society. The gradual decay in human values creates headlines in the newspaper but that is where it begins and ends. We are victims in our own way. This film portrays several such incidents that happen to us everyday. It is a voice of protest against our conspiracy of silence,” sums up Debaditya.

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