By Shoma A. Chatterji
Makers Greentouch Entertainment and director Parambrato Chattopadhyay are going all out to promote the Prosenjit Chatterjee starrer.They started out with the music release, a trailer launch, a panel discussion organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce as well as a launch of a leading shopping mall’s mobile app by Prosenjit and Parambrato.
This shows how market-savvy Bengali cinema has become in recent times. Lorai, which means ‘fight’ has been elaborated by the makers as ‘Play-to Live’ which suggests that a game often becomes a fight unto death for the players. “Bengali cinema now demands rich content” says Prosenjit adding “social media is alert so it is easy for the audience to pick just a single scene if it has been plagiarised from another film. We, within the industry, must keep our antennae up.”
Lorai, shot almost entirely on location, is a well-mounted project based on a plot conceived by actor-director Parambrato who has directed many projects before this film.
But what is Lorai all about? Sebastian Paes (Prosenjit), is a once-upon-a-time football star of the Kolkata Football League who was forced to retire because of an injury. He tries to console himself by coaching the kids of his neighbourhood who belong to a small-time club in Bow Barracks Street, an Anglo-Indian hub. Unable to cope with his depression and alcoholism, his wife and child have left him for good. He bides his time, impatiently waiting to join his nephew in Australia. Destiny, however, has other plans for him. He is suddenly assigned to coach young villagers in football to form a team in a remote village in West Bengal. It is a mission conceived of and funded by the State government but he is shocked to discover that the villagers extremely poor. Sebastian discovers an India he never knew existed. Training the completely ignorant villagers in football is a learning experience for both the learners and the coach, creating for both a new definition of life and living.
“Through this film, we have tried to blur the rural-urban audience divide that has cropped up in Bengali cinema, where one film distances one section of the audience while drawing close the other section,” says Parambrato.
Shot extensively in Kolkata and Bolpur, Lorai features an impressive acting cast comprising Payel Sarkar, Kharaj Mukherjee, Kanchan Mullick, Indrashish Roy among others. Some noted real-life footballers have been drawn in to play cameos. The musical score is by Indraadip Dasgupta. Gopi Bhata is cinematographer and Bodhaditya Bandopadhyay has edited the film.
Lorai released on January 9.