Ram Kamal Mukherjee is all set to direct his first full-length feature film Rickshawala after the success of his short films Cakewalk and Season’s Greetings. The film, to be set in Kolkata, will revolve around the narratives of rickshaw pullers.
In an interview with the website iwmbuzz.com, Mukherjee stated, “Since I made my foray into direction, people from Kolkata have been constantly asking me to make a Bengali film.”
The director said that for a long time he did not have a story to justify the language and the narrative. “Finally, I wrote a story based on the rickshaw pullers. These particular hand-pulled rickshaws are only seen in Kolkata, especially in certain pockets, and their story intrigued me,” he said.
Cinematographer Modhura Palit, who recently received the 2019 Angenieux Special Encouragement at the Pierre Angenieux ExcelLens in Cinematography at the Festival de Cannes, will shoot the film.
I don’t want to leave a signature as a cinematographer, says award-winning artiste Modhura Palit
According to producer Aritra Das, Palit readily agreed to be part of the film as soon as she was narrated the story. “It’s been a passionate subject of Ram Kamal-da, and with Madhura’s international recognition at the Cannes film festival this year, it will be a bonus” Das said.
Co-producer Shailendra Kumar stated that through the film they are going to provide a platform to students of cinema and to newcomer artistes.
Mukherjee said, “Actually the script demands new faces and we are having auditions in Kolkata for the male and female lead.”
The producers and director have not been able to find a face yet for the character of a rickshaw puller. Mukherjee explained, “Most Bengali actors have an accent issue, and if they are acting well then they don’t have the body. So, to get the perfect combination of both I guess I will have to wait.”
The story will have references from Mukherjee’s childhood experiences with various rickshaw pullers and their families. Mukherjee feels the community has hardly ever been placed as the central characters in films. Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zameen (1953) and Roland Joffe’s City Of Joy (1992) are the only ones that spring to mind instantly. The team aims to begin shooting for the film from the end of June.