By Shoma A. Chatterji
Debut director Indranil Roychoudhury’s Phoring recently received the Vincent Ward prize at the 17th Shanghai Inter-national Film Festival. The award includes a two-month, all-paid trip to the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He shared the prize with Iranian film-maker Rea Dormishian for I’m Not Angry. Earlier in June, Indranil was nominated for the Asian New Talent award at the same festival. This year it was the second competition program of the festival, aiming at discovering and promoting young directors and the winners of Best Film and Best Director were awarded approximately USD 48,000.
Phoring was screened at the IFFI Goa in 2013 as also the Prasad Lab Post-Production Completion Award 2012 for Best Work-in-Progress – Film Bazaar.
Phoring is a wonderful, watch-worthy film that could sail across to other lands with its universal statement as it openly deals with masturbation, nightfall and other male fantasies. It is Indranil Roychowdhury’s foray into Tollywood. “Films about children are always an adult’s version of a child’s life. There are very few films which see children as they see themselves. Any child will tell you that it’s as stressful, complicated and difficult as ours. Phoring, as the boy in the film is named, will help us understand adolescence better. It tells us about a time of our lives that we have almost willfully forgotten,” he had said at the launch.
Having produced and directed over hundred television commercials and corporate documentaries, he has also made four tele-films. An FTII, Pune graduate, Indranil has also directed several reality shows, music videos and game shows for Bengali channels. Sohini Sarkar, who portrays a school teacher with a difference, says, “What was portrayed was more than the conventional student-teacher relationship. I played a character with many shades. I was just blown away by Indranil’s intellect. The script is just brilliant.”
Phoring is more a film for adults than for pre-adolescent children. In a unique directorial debut, Indranil sets forth to explain the world seen through the eyes of an adolescent boy called Phoring who is trying to grope with his awakening sexuality on the one hand and his disturbed life on the other. “The journey that Phoring makes from a small town to the city and back is the distance that he travels within himself. It’s a story of recognising possibilities, of knowing that being loved is actually an offshoot of truly loving oneself. It gave us immense pleasure that the film has won awards at the 43rd International Film Festival, Goa, Prasad Award for Best Work-in-Progress – Film Bazaar,” said Anasua Roy Choudhury, producer, Chitrabeekshan Audio Visual Pvt Ltd.
“It feels great when your efforts get appreciated. Phoring was competing with nine other films from the continent in the Asian New Talent Award section. People loved it; the reaction was splendid and quite encouraging for me. When Phoring released here though the audience praised it, it did not run at the box-office because of poor distribution,” Indranil sums up.