Filmmaker Satarupa Sanyal says history is the real hero of her short film based on the position of women in a royal household of Calcutta during British rule.
Titled ‘Shovabazar Rajbarir Andarmahal’, the 28-minute film portrays the journey of late Kamala Devi Bourani, who entered the Dev family, a prominent princely family of 19th century Calcutta, as a child-bride after giving up her studies.
“It is the universal tale of women as being nowhere in history with their condition and situation seldom highlighted or referred. Their history is not chronicled,” Satarupta told PTI.
The script is based on Kamala Devi’s memoirs available with present day researchers which depict the lives of women in those times.
About not taking any celebrity face, the director said, “I have sought to show the subject as the true hero of this film. So I have consciously avoided using any star so that the subject does not lose focus.
“I have used professional actors to portray the character of Kamala Devi and others to show how she evolved as a housewife, who played a key role in planning the rituals and customs of the centuries old Durga Puja, and how women played an important role in running the family but had no outside exposure or apparent say in the domain of men.”
When asked about the reason behind choosing a short film format, Satarupa said the subject demanded it.
The topic, she said, was such that it “can’t be turned into a lavishly mounted period feature film even with higher budget”.
The director has extensively shot the film inside famous Durga Dalan, Chandi Mandop, Nachghar, Natmondir.
About sourcing the materials, Satarupa said, “I have spoken to the family and got inputs from them including descendant of the family and prominent music director Raja Narayan Dev.”
The filmmaker said she has also shown contrast in present and past stature of women.
“The present generation of women are far more liberated and stepping out in the professional world with some of them bagging plum jobs and I have also shown this contrasting picture.
“Their (women) stories can be summed up in writer Saratchandra Chattopadhyay’s words “E Sansare jara dilo, pelo na kichhui” (those who sacrificed for the world hardly got anything),” she said.