This 105 minute long National Film Grant winning feature stars Dilruba Hossain Doyel, Jayanta Chattopadhyay, Quazi Nawshaba Ahmed, and Gazi Rakayet, among others
Director N Rashed Chowdhury’s feature film Chandrabati Kotha will have its world premiere at the 25th Kolkata International Film Festival. The film is competing in the Asian Select NETPAC Award category.
Based on the life of Bengal’s first feminist poet, Chandrabati, the film takes place in the mid 16th century, East Bengal. The young daughter of veteran poet Dijabangshi Das, falls in love with another poet Jayananda. On the eve of their marriage, Jayananda betrays Chandrabati and marries another woman in the locality. The pain stricken Chandrabati confines herself in a Shiva Temple and takes her vow to rewrite the epic Ramayana.
Adapted from the ballads found in the Mymensingh Geetika, film Chandrabati Kotha sheds light on the golden era of medieval Bangla Literature.
The director said: “Chandrabati Kotha is our tribute to the 16th century pioneer poet Chandrabati- portraying her elegiac life story and her passion for writing. In her version of the "Ramayana," she retold the story of the great Indian epic from Sita's perspective, ignoring the glory of its male chauvinist protagonist Rama.”
Chandrabati, who was a disciple of her father, wrote her Ramayana in Pala form (long ballads), which would later be performed by Boyatis or village minstrel storytellers. Many of these poems are still popular among locals.
"However, it wasn’t easy to find all the information necessary to reconstruct 16th century Mymensingh," said the director to Dhaka Tribune Showtime.
“We researched for about seven years to compile these orally composed Palas,” he said.
“Much of the research was done before submitting the script for a National Film Grant. Our art director, Torun Ghosh and I did more research to get the authentic feel of it. We had a great team. Many of our art team members are now working in big productions in Mumbai.”
Theatre veterans Syed Jamil Ahmed and Nasiruddin Yousuff Bachchu were also in the advisory board to help with the research.
It took one and a half years to shoot this film in six districts in and around Mymensingh. Yet it was difficult to establish that 16th century time period.
“We couldn’t take many wide shots to hide the Eucalyptus trees that didn’t exist at the time,” the director said. “We even had to rebuild an entire temple to fit our period requirements.”
This 105 minute long National Film Grant winning feature stars Dilruba Hossain Doyel, Jayanta Chattopadhyay, Quazi Nawshaba Ahmed, and Gazi Rakayet, among others. Kolkata’s Satyakee Banerjee composed the music and Sankha Biswas did the editing of the film.
Kolkata International Film Festival will take place from November 8-15.