Shoma A. Chatterji, TWF, Bollywood Trade News Network
Darjeeling is a global melting pot of tourism. The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, a 126-year-old cobalt blue narrow-gauge train still chugs and snorts its way from Kurseong to Darjeeling via Ghoom, winding its way along the serpentine route, against the shimmering silver of the Kanchenjunga Range in the backdrop. Along the way, it leaves behind the lush, green-layered mantle of its velvet tea gardens, shanty teashops with the smoke rising from earthen cups, the locals helping themselves to their favourite momo with its clear soup, and huts with tin roofs. Correspondent Shoma offers a sneak preview of VIA DARJEELING, a Hindi film shot against the intriguing landscape of this hill city.
Chillers and thrillers are a fashion statement in the Hindi mainstream today. Arindam Nandy, who honed his skills in advertising and made a documentary on the poet-couple Radharani Debi and Narendra Deb, called Bhalobashar Kobi Dampati, steps into the world of feature films with VIA DARJEELING, a Hindi suspense thriller.
The film is co-produced by Joy Ganguly, a Bengali producer and presented by NFDC under the Moxie Entertainments banner. The other 'Bengali' identity the film boasts of is its unusual storyline that revolves around the concept of the 'adda' Ė or informal chat sessions within homes, in public spaces, between and among friends, that usually begin as a friendly chat but could diversify into other streams evoking different emotional layers of response like nostalgia, anger, affection, friendship, hate and even violence. Subjects can be anything under the sun - politics, love, college life, family, children, psychology, sex, murder, adultery and so on.
'The film is set in modern day Kolkata and Darjeeling and is based on an age old Bengali tradition called 'adda' where friends get together in the rains, & exchange stories & gossip, over drinks & dinner,' adds Nandy.
Others in the cast are Rajat Kapoor, Parveen Dabas, Sandhya Mridul, Simone Singh, Arindam Sil and Prroshant Narayannan.
Prabuddha Banerjee has done the musical score. The film has been shot extensively in Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Kolkata and Mumbai.
Ankur (KK Menon) and Rimli (Sonali Kulkarni), a newly married couple, visit Darjeeling for their honeymoon. The evening before they are to return to Kolkata, Ankur goes missing. Robin Bose on the eve of their return to Calcutta, Ankur disappears. The Inspector in charge, Robin Bose (Vinay Pathak) is committed in his search for Ankur but he is never found.A visibly shocked and disturbed Rimli gives him just a few clues. She tells him about a fight Ankur had with a cabbie and a mysterious man who, she felt, kept stalking her during her stay in the hill town. Two years later, Inspector Bose narrates this story to a few friends on a rainy evening during an adda session. When he cannot give him or her definite answers to where and why Ankur went missing, each adda member begins to give his/her individual version of what might have happened. One suspects Ankur committed suicide while another says he has probably been murdered. A third suggests that he was probably a con man who had his fun and disappeared. During this adda session, there is a purging of personal emotions of these people themselves, as their versions begin to blend into problems in their personal lives. Thus, the adda brings the mystery to Kolkata one night...'via Darjeeling'. Faces are unmasked and new ones emerge.
Lastly Nandy elaborates, 'The tributary of tales that our epics, Ramayan and Mahabharat are made of are primarily oral in nature. They have journeyed through tales, songs, paintings, murals, folk arts, and sculpture through the ages. This is probably whey Rama of Ramayan and Krishna of Mahabharat blend into one another as 'avatar' of the same entity - Vishnu. The roles change though the face remains the same'.
More about Via Darjeeling
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