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Suman Sen’s Eka (Solo) selected for Cannes' La Fabrique Cinéma programme

The socio-political drama, which marks the filmmaker's directorial debut, is a joint endeavour by Bangladeshi and French producers. 

Shriram Iyengar

Writer-director Suman Sen’s debut feature Eka (Solo), a gritty socio-political feature film, has been selected for La Fabrique Cinéma de l'Institut français, an esteemed programme tailored for young filmmakers across emerging countries to network with distributors and agents across the world, as part of the Festival de Cannes.

The film is among 10 projects from around the world, all made by first-time filmmakers. 

The film, only the fourth from India to be picked as part of the celebrated programme, has been backed by Arifur Rahman and Bijon of Bangladesh's Goopy Bagha Productions and renowned producer Dominique Welinski of France's DW Productions.

Sen's project was part of NFDC Film Bazaar’s co-production market in 2019 and was also selected by Torino Film Lab Next (TFL) in 2020.

The film's story revolves around the 56-year-old insurance agent Biplab, a long-term diabetic. Every morning, on his way to work in a crowded bus, Biplab sees the huge toe of a massive under-construction statue in the middle of the main city square. Fully covered in blue tarpaulin, the statue is supposed to represent the common man. The city is keenly waiting for the president to inaugurate the statue.

Sen, the founder of a content studio in Mumbai, Fickle Formula, said, “I believe that the reason our society is failing today, comes from the burden of our past. I see the world through my father’s eyes. Their generation failed us entirely, in every sense. We have become intellectually bankrupt, emotionally isolated and politically paralyzed because of their indifference to society, to our nation. The film reflects and documents the kind of time I am living in for the last couple of years. A time of hatred, intolerance, violence (sic).” 

Rahman said the makers are in the process of auditioning and finalizing the cast and crew and are in conversation with "some of the finest actors and crews from all across the world". "The shooting is likely to commence in mid-2022 in Kolkata,” he said.

Welinski said he feels that Sen brings a refreshing and new voice to Indian independent cinema. "I have already had the pleasure of experiencing his sensibility and strong political anchoring in a previous short film The Silent Echo, so I am more than proud to be part of this new adventure as well,” said the DW Productions founder.

The Cannes Film Festival will take place between 6 and 17 July. 

Related topics

Cannes Festival