Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s ‘Once Upon A Time In Calcutta’ world premiere at VIFF

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National Award-winning filmmaker Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s third feature in Bengali, ‘Once Upon A Time In Calcutta’ will have its world premiere in the 78th Venice International Film Festival to be held from September 1 to 11, 2021.

It’s the only Indian film in this year’s festival edition and is competing in Orizzonti (horizons), a section dedicated to films representing new aesthetic and expressive trends in world cinema.

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Thrilled about returning to Venice Film Festival for the third time, writer-director-editor Aditya said, “Venice is a dream festival for any filmmaker and we are extremely grateful and excited to be back with a Bengali film about the city, especially on the 100 birth centenary of Satyajit Ray.”

Aditya’s debut film, ‘Labour of Love’ won the FEDEORA award at Venice Days section 2014 as the best debut film. His second film, ‘Jonaki’ premiered at International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018.

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‘Once Upon A Time In Calcutta’ is shot by Palme d’Or winner, cinematographer Gokhan Tiryaki and its music is composed by Dutch composer Minco Eggersman.

Inspired by true events, Aditya pays homage to Calcutta in his third narrative feature, which follows the life of a bereaved mother trying to desperately find a new identity, love and independence, but soon realises that she is not the only scavenger in a city brimming with hunger.

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Aditya said: “This film is a culmination of personal feelings and emotions for the city of Calcutta and its people, especially as it tries to catch up to the rapidly changing world. Leveraging real characters and actual events, the film is my effort to chip away the various layers of the previously communist city to reveal a human condition that is tragic and yet full of hope and joy.”

He added, “The film highlights the aspirations and struggles of people gasping for breath in an ever-expanding metropolis. For the viewer, I have tried to create a real glimpse into the murky waters of Calcutta, with colourful characters, all trying very hard to find a corner of their own without drowning.”

Along with screen veterans such as Sreelekha Mitra and Bratya Basu, the film features an ensemble cast selected over two years – Satrajit Sarkar, Arindam Ghosh, Reetika Nondine Shimu and Anirban Chakrabarti along with young debutant Shayak Roy. A cast of non-professional actors, including Aditya’s own father, Tridib Sengupta, have also featured in significant roles.

Presented by Wishberry Films (crowdfunding platform for Independent filmmakers) and produced by For Films in association with Catherine Dussart Productions (France) and DUOFilm AS (Norway), the film is supported by Cannes L’Atleier, NFDC Film Bazaar, Sorfond and CNC Cinema du Monde.

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