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The picture of Kashmir is one of oppression; our government has choked their voices and ours: Chiranjeet Chakraborty

The veteran actor, who plays a pivotal role in the film, said Surjo Prithibir Charidike Ghore is not just a biopic but also a political film and hoped that social media would lend it much-needed support.

Roushni Sarkar

Veteran actor Chiranjeet Chakraborty plays the crucial character of Chiranjeet Chatterjee in Arijit Biswas’s acclaimed directorial debut Surjo Prithibir Charidike Ghore (2019). Biswas won the award for Best Director at the Kolkata International Film Festival last year.

Finally slated for a theatrical release on 29 November, Surjo Prithibir Charidike Ghore features Meghnad Bhattacharya as the protagonist TC Pal, the fictionalized version of real-life character KC Pal. Anjan Dutt, Sreela Majumdar and Pallavi Chatterjee also play important roles in the film.

The film is based on the story of KC Pal, who believes the sun revolves around the earth and not vice versa. Once upon a time, he used to put up posters on the walls of Kolkata and write books on his theories. However, the film alleviates Pal’s story to a different level, infusing it with the rise and fall of leftist politics in Kolkata.

According to the director as well as the artistes, Surjo Prithibir Charidike Ghore is a political film and the critical acclaim it has received does not guarantee commercial success. Hence, they describe producer Pawan Kanodia's decision to support the film as an exceptional and challenging initiative.

At the poster and trailer launch of the film in Kolkata on 30 October, Chiranjeet Chakraborty said, “This is an unusual film. This is a political film as well as a biopic. It has quite a serious approach. Forget about commercial films, this is not even the kind of film Srijit Mukherji or other directors are making. This is a rather serious film.” And yet, he believes the script has a certain appeal.

According to Chakraborty, the character of TC Pal works as the catalyst for the political unrest depicted in the film. “He is not actively into politics, nor is he fully aware of [the fallout of] his actions. There is an impending inevitability of whatever he is doing,” said the actor.

Chakraborty tried to connect Pal's narrative with that of communism, saying, “The ultimate vision of communism is equality in society. The concept of zero discrimination between the poor and the privileged is almost impossible to achieve. However, for ages, personalities like Karl Marx, Martin Luther King, Jr, and others have worked for it. There has been a strange sedimentation in which all these leaders have preferred to follow the communist pattern.”

Chakraborty highlighted that the ideological base of all theatre groups in Bengal has always been communism and revolution. “Abhijit Binayak Banerjee has received the Nobel Prize [for Economics] for his research in giving more benefits to poverty-stricken people," the veteran actor said. "However, in my opinion, no national leader thinks this way, nor are they ready to give recognition to the poor. I don’t think there is any leader around the world to follow the works of Mr Banerjee." In his opinion, every government remains in power by "ruling" over the poor.

Speaking of the situation in the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, Chakraborty said, “Whether the abrogation of Article 370 was needed is a different issue. Ultimately, it has resulted in a picture of oppression. It is choking their and our voice, too. Our government has taken away their freedom. Their leaders have been detained and people are beginning to revolt. Maybe their protest will be futile, but no one can deny their existence.”

Chakraborty said oppression is a capitalistic pattern and has consumed the existence of communism everywhere. Communism has almost vanished from Russia while in China it has taken a different course. In Bengal it has been almost uprooted.

He said a lot of idealistic morals have proved to be superficial over the years. “However, I still have hope for honesty and I feel it has its own position. It is almost synonymous with revolution and the universe. TC Pal in the film exhibits that honesty,” he explained.

“If the audience chooses to watch this film from this kind of perspective and perceive it through their hearts, they will be engrossed in it. After the initial 10 minutes, the film will begin to pull the audience with its own appeal. I often tell people to try hard to concentrate for two minutes and listen to me; After those two minutes, it is my responsibility to keep them silent.”

He added that such independent films need more support from social media platforms, since the makers cannot afford to plaster the city with billboards and posters. “Till a few days ago, I used to consider the power of social media to be a myth. However, Ranu Mondal from Ranaghat has proved my assumptions wrong. No poster was put up for her, no one made any recommendation for her; yet she has been singing all over the country. Here, Ranu is not important, but the power of social media is,” said Chakraborty and hoped for something similar with Surjo Prithibir Charidike Ghore despite the seriousness of its subject.