After the success of short length Hindi feature film Cakewalk and Season’s Greetings, director Ram Kamal Mukherjee is all set to make his debut in Bengali film Rickshawala. Set in the heartland of Kolkata, the film will be produced by Assorted Motion Pictures and SS1 Entertainments. “Since I made my foray into direction people from Kolkata have been constantly asking me to make a Bengali film. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a story that would justify the language and the narrative. Finally, I wrote a story based on the rickshaw pullers. These particular hand pulley ricks are only seen in Kolkata, especially in certain pockets, their story intrigued me,” says director Ram Kamal Mukherjee.
Produced by Aritra Das, Sarbani Mukherjee and Shailendra Kumar, the film will also see celebrated cinematographer Madhura Palit as an integral part of the film. “When I narrated the concept to Madhura she readily agreed to be a part of this film. 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,” says producer Aritra Das.
The additional screenplay has been executed by Gargi Mukherjee (granddaughter of legendary actor Bhanu Bandhopadhya) and Saikat Das. The main lead of the film is yet to be finalized. “Actually the script demands new faces and we are having auditions in Kolkata for the male and female lead. Unfortunately, I have not found a single face that would justify the character of Rickshawala in the film. Most Bengali actors have 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,” rues Ram Kamal.
“This is a film that we are making out of passion and primarily working with students of cinema. We would like to provide a platform to newcomers to showcase their talent,” says producer Shailendra Kumar. Incidentally, the story is loosely based on various incidents that director Ram Kamal had witnessed as a child during his early days in Kolkata. “I grew up in Amherst Street, and I have seen Rickshawala and their families. I feel that this is high time that we talk about them also. In Hindi cinema, or even in Bengali films we have barely seen them as the central character,” avers Ram Kamal.
The concept of the teaser poster has been designed by Pallavi Nandan. “She is one of the best in the business. Extremely talented and brings in a characteristic that leaves an imprint,” says Aritra Das. The shooting of the film will start from June end. “I am desperately looking for a male lead who can pull this role, quietly literally,” laughs Ram Kamal.