For Films, producer of “Labour of Love,” which won best debut for director Aditya Vikram Sengupta at the 2014 Venice Film Festival, has revealed a robust slate.
Other films from the company include Rotterdam selection “Jonaki” (2018) and Venice selection “Once Upon a Time in Calcutta” (2021), both directed by Sengupta.
For Films is now actively developing three different kinds of projects, set in very different worlds. It has also expanded from Bengali-language films into the Hindi and English languages in an attempt to reach the widest possible audience.
One of the projects, with the working title “Death of an Elephant,” is a Hindi-language period piece based on a short story by renowned Bengali author, Tarasankhar Bandopadhyay, to be directed by Sengupta. The film is set in North India and requires an ensemble star cast. Discussions are on with cast. Several of Bandopadhyay’s works have been adapted as films, including “The Music Room” (1958) by Satyajit Ray.
Another Hindi-language project, also to be directed by Sengupta, is about his personal relationship with magic growing up in the 1980s and 90s in Calcutta, when the city was hailed as the Magic Capital of India. Titled “Mandrake,” the film is set against the backdrop of globalization and the slow death of simpler ways with the advent of the digital revolution.
The team is also developing multiple feature films, series and documentaries. One of them is an as-yet-untitled documentary that examines Bollywood and its long lasting impact through a socio-cultural lens, with Sengupta serving as a creative producer.
” ‘Death of an Elephant’ is a story that has been with me for years now. I used to keep coming back to it every now and then between other projects,” Sengupta told Variety. “Its a story I’ve always wanted to adapt and it explores the passage of time – something I’ve explored in all my films, starting from ‘Labour of Love.’ On the other hand, ‘Mandrake’ is a very personal film. In its core essence, the film is almost autobiographical, even though it’s far removed from the context and the life I am living today. It’s self-reflective and my observation on how life has changed in my lifetime. There has been use of magic realism in all my films, but this film deals directly with magic.”
For Films was scheduled to start production for its next project which was in development, “Birthmark,” which was a part of HAF Hong Kong Film Financing Forum and the Venice Gap Financing Forum. But the project has now been shelved just months before the start of production.
“It’s heartbreaking that we had to shelve ‘Birthmark.’ We spent years researching the project and our international co-producers are also very heartbroken with the decision. But the decision was based on a lot of unavoidable factors based on the world we live in,” Priyankar Patra, producer with For Films, told Variety. “That being said, I am excited for the future of our company now. We’ve decided to put all our focus and energy on different kinds of projects simultaneously. Our backgrounds are rooted in the artistic independent film world but with the upcoming films, we’re trying to integrate that knowledge with a more mainstream setup and reach a much wider audience.”
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