After winning the hearts of critics and audience worldwide for his film ‘Season’s Greetings’, now author turned director Ram Kamal Mukherjee is gearing up for his third feature film ‘Rickshawala’, set in the heartland of Kolkata. The Indian film has been selected at the prestigious ImagineIndia International Film Festival in Madrid, Spain, and also been selected at 11th International Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.
The film stars Bollywood actor Avinash Dwivedi and Sangita Sinha in the lead role. The film already fetched Best Actor and Best Director awards at the 13th Ayodhya International Film Festival.
Melbourne International Indian Film Festival is considered as one of the most prestigious festivals worldwide. The festival curator Uma da Cunhna in her statement says, “Ram Kamal’s film is a telling depiction of the disparities and hardship faced by a migrant whose life encompasses the travails of the needy in cosmopolitan Kolkata.” This year the festival will be celebrated virtually from October 23rd. This is a State Government of Victoria funded annual festival based in Melbourne. It is presented by Film Victoria. Festival director Mitu Bhowmick Lange says, “We are happy to screen Rickshawala and Season’s Greetings both films directed by Ram Kamal. He is a sensitive filmmaker who treats his subjects with care.” Last year IFFM was attended by dignitaries like Shah Rukh Khan, Tabu, Arjun Kapoor, Vijay Sethupathi, Gayathrie Shankar, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Sriram Raghavan, and Rima Das. The 7-day festival will screen over 60 films from all across India and the subcontinent in over 22 languages.
In an official statement, the Festival Director Abur Rahim Qazi from Madrid writes about ‘Rickshawala’ in Spanish. The translated version of his understanding of cinema reads like this, “Life welcomes one like a blank page. You go, you don’t know where; you come from where you ignore. But it is not the case of the central character Manoj in a Indian film by Ram Kamal Mukherjee. Manoj’s future is written on the sprouting stones in the path; the humble origin of his family, place of provenance, Bihar; the classism of Indian society, neighborhood thugs or the dysfunctional relationship between the sexes. An ancient life with no possible return. Or not? Because Manoj also came with full of love, respect, courage and honesty, with that leftover rebellion that is suppressed in every young man and whose origins are unknown. With flawless performance from Avinash Dwivedi and good direction of photography by Modhura Palit, the director tells us about the various topics still existing in India and supported with credible narrative. In short, this is a story of nameless souls and loneliness hidden behind the broken walls. An ancient life or perhaps a future that’s not yet visible.” Rickshawala will participate in the Love Section at Imagineindia International Film Festival in Madrid in November.
Produced by Aritra Das, Gaurav Daga and Shhailendra Kkumar, the film revolves around contemporary issues of unemployment and migrant oppression in India. “I am happy that our film has been selected for the prestigious festivals at Melbourne and Madrid. I wanted to tell a simple story and since I have spend my childhood in North Kolkata, so I wanted to tell this story of rickshaw pullers,” says director Ram Kamal Mukherjee. The film has music by Neerajan Saha and edited by Pronoy Dasgupta.
Bollywood actor Avinash Dwivedi who is winning the hearts of critics with his soul stirring performance feels that film industry needs to accept newer talents. “I am thankful to dada (Ram Kamal) for casting me in this film. He could have easily opted for names, but he preferred to cast someone new that shows his faith in the subject and the actor he prefers to work with,” says actor Avinash Dwivedi.
Sangita Sinha who plays the female lead in the film also makes her debut in the film. “Ram Kamal sir actually spend days reading and enacting the scenes with me and Avinash. I was very nervous, because he had already worked with big stars like Esha Deol, Celina Jaitly and Lillette Dubey ji. But he makes everyone so comfortable and you don’t even realise that when he extracts performances from you,” says Sangita Sinha.
Producer Aritra Das from Assorted Motion Pictures says, “Rickshawala is a very dear project for all of us. We shot the film in scorching heat and torrential rains. Actors and technicians supported me like family.” Produced under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures and GeeDee Films the film is shot by Modhura Palit who was awarded last year at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival last year. “When we hear such good things about Rickshawala we feel emotional because of the struggle and pain that everyone faced while making the film,” says producer Gaurav Daga from Gee Dee Production.
The film pays humble tribute to legendary actor Om Puri who played the role of Rickshawala in Roland Joffe’s City of Joy. “This is 70th Birth Anniversary of Om Puri ji, and it’s our humble offering to someone who left such a legacy of performances through his body of work,” says Ram Kamal.
Nandita Puri, the wife of legendary actor says, “Om ji believed in new makers and their vision. As we are gearing up for his 70th birth Anniversary on 18th October, this news comes as a great surprise. Ram Kamal is a fine filmmaker and Rickshawala will be remembered for its simple and yet provoking narrative.”