India, France, Singapore 2018/ | FANTASY DRAMA | 1 HR 35 MIN. | Bengali with English Subtitles
4/27/2019 | 9:20-11:10 pm
While Jonaki, an 80-year-old woman, searches for love in a strange world of decaying memories, her lover, now old and grey, returns to a world she is leaving behind.
Aditya Vikram Sengupta
Aditya Vikram Sengupta was born in 1983 in Calcutta, India. At a very young age his interests meandered towards performing arts. He started training in western classical music and was an active dramatist throughout his childhood. Later, he trained himself in animation and film. His student shorts have screened at various international festivals including Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival, Animafest Zagreb and Sao Paulo International Film Festival. His paintings have been showcased in galleries across India and one of his posters is exhibited at the Religious Art Museum, Tehran. He realised that filmmaking encompasses all his interests, allowing him to express himself in a wholesome manner. Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s debut film “ Labour of Love” created a tremendous buzz in the international film festival circuit. The film premiered at the Venice Film Festival 2014, Giornate Degli Autori, where it won the FEDEORA for best Debut Film. “Labour Of Love” has since featured at over 70 international film festivals including Rotterdam, Busan, London, Tallinn, Munich, Marrakech, Shanghai, Abu Dhabi and IFFLA and has won 13 awards internationally. The film was also feted with 2 awards at the National Film Awards 2015 including the prestigious Golden Lotus for Best Debut Film. Aditya’s next second feature “Jonaki” was officially selected to have its World Premier in the Bright Future section of the prestigious International Film Festival of Rotterdam 2018, where it began its festival journey. Aditya is also currently developing his next project “Memories And My Mother”. The project is the first ever Bengali language feature to be a part of Cannes Cinefondations’ L’Atelier at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. It was also a part of the NFDC’s co production market at the Film Bazaar in 2015. MAMM has also received funding from France’s distinguished CNC (Cinema du Monde).
“Jonaki” is firefly in Bengali. Fireflies are magical. They flicker, and between each flicker of light they have moved on. My grandmother used to tell me that fireflies are part of a Japanese folktale in which the souls of the dead turn into fireflies and wander into the forest. "Jonaki" is inspired from the life of my grandmother, who I was incredibly fond of and shared an indelible bond with. She grew up in a now nearly extinct class of affluent, aristocratic and anglicised family, the kinds that would attend ball dances and had high-teas. However, her life was marked with pain and suffering. Her father passed away when she was just six. Her mother was authoritarian. Despite being in love with a Christian boy, she was forcefully married at the age of 16, and understandably, my grandfather and she never got along. Chronicles of her life became the subject of my bedtime stories. Before she passed away, she lay in coma for 4 days with her eyes slightly open while she kept murmuring in her trance. I wondered what was she thinking? A few months after her death, I began to have terrible nightmares - sometimes waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of explosions and gunshots like the way she had described them to me from her memories of the war. ‘Jonaki’ is an amalgamation of what i imagined was going on in my grandmothers head when she was in coma and the echoes of my nightmare. Is it a recollection of memories and thoughts from the unfulfilled life of an 80-year-old woman. It is a tale of the pain of denied love. It is my attempt to come to terms with my grandmother’s passing. Spaces are just not visual, they are an atmosphere. I wanted the viewers to smell the dampness in the decaying walls of a room that was once the seat of celebration but now an abandoned space filled with roots and creepers. “Jonaki” is an attempt to recreate this experience through cinematic language. It tries to bring the above elements together in a spontaneous, organic and honest mis en scene.
Cast LOLITA CHATTERJEE, JIM SARBH, RATNABALI BHATTACHARJEE, SUMANTO CHATTOPADHYAY, BURJOR PATEL, INTDRAJIT SINHA, ARUNIMA SINHA, SATYA PRIYO CHAKRABORTY, SUNDERSHIKA TAMANG
DIRECTED AND WRITTEN BY ADITYA VIKRAM SENGUPTA
PRODUCED BY SAMIR SARKAR
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY ADITYA VIKRAM SENGUPTA & MAHENDRA SHETTY
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER VIKRAM MOHINTA
COPRODUCER CATHERINE DUSSART
PRODUCTION DESIGNER JONAKI BHATTACHARYA
EDITOR ADITYA VIKRAM SENGUPTA
MUSIC ALEXANDER ZEKKE
COLORIST DEBOJYOTI GHOSH & SIDHARTH MEER
SOUND HINDOLE CHAKRABORTY
“Jonaki” was officially selected to have its World Premier in the Bright Future section of the prestigious International Film Festival of Rotterdam 2018.