The film explores the friendship and love that develops between two people from different places of turmoil, who try to seek refugee in each other. The girl is from the persecuted Rohingya Tribe from Mayanmar who is now an Indian refugee. The boy hails from Kashmir, which has always remained a controversial and volatile territory in India. The story is about their experiences when they cross paths, the love that grows between them, and the possibility of a life together. The film attempts to document the turbulent times we live in and tries to realistically depict the current state of affairs.
121 Mins | Bengali, Hindi, English, Rohingya | Drama, Socio-Political Love | 2020 | India
In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, Diorama brings you the experience of the Director of the film - Kumar Chowdhury
Why this subject matter for your film?
If only there were a world without racism, casteism, bigotry, imperialism, it would have been a different place. I wanted to make a film that shows how general or ordinary people sacrifice their lives in political violence. How people become homeless after being deported from their own country. On the other hand, how an ordinary individual stands up tall and stretches helping hands to another ordinary individual even though they belong to different countries and hence, different lives. In fact, I wanted to make a film about this turbulent decade.
Where did you find the story for this film?
2012-13 onwards, I have followed every news from Myanmar. In 2015, I read an article about a Rohingya girl from Myanmar in a magazine. Then I collected all the related data from different areas and tried to create a story around it.
What were the challenges you faced in making the film?
As it is a very sensitive subject, we faced a lot of challenges in making this film. We did not allow any media or press throughout our shooting days because the story of a Rohingya girl and a Kashmiri boy is very sensitive. Another big challenge was finding finance. In true sense, there is no Producer. It's purely an Independent film. My wife, Mrs. Piyali, took a personal loan (at a huge rate) and sold her ornaments to produce this film, and with the help of crowdfunding we completed the post-production of the film. Also, we went to shoot in Kashmir after the abolition of Article 370. That was also very challenging.
Did you face any problems in releasing the film?
The film is still running in the Festivals. After Diorama International in Delhi, " FIRE OF TEAK FLAME OF CHINAR..." has been Officially selected in 26th Kolkata International Film Festival (Asian Select NETPAC AWARD category), 7th Rajasthan International Film Festival (bagged Best Debut Director- Critic’s Choice), Druk International Film Festival (bagged Winner, Outstanding Achievement Award), 23rd UK ASIAN International Film Festival in London.
So, after few months we have a plan to release the film. And we need a releasing partner to release the film as we have no more budgets.
What was your background before making your first film?
I was into the world of theatre and acting since my school days. I joined PLT (Utpal Dutta) in my post-graduation days. Then I started my professional career as an actor in TV and Films. Within a few years, made my mark as an important character artist in Bengali film Industry. Then I started Directing Telefilms and Short films. " FIRE OF TEAK FLAME OF CHINAR..." is my debut feature film.
How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution?
Finance is very essential. Low-budget films exist but no-budget films don't. And it is very difficult to get a Producer or investor for any Independent film. But the positive thing is as technology continues to develop, one can shoot on a mobile phone now. Best solution is to put your own money into your movies. Crowdfunding is another option. We are the new generation of filmmakers. We have always been working outside the rules. We need to find alternative methods from filmmaking to distribution. We are fortunate that now a variety of platforms have been created to make our work more accessible to general viewers. So the OTT platforms are the answer but we need to know how to use them properly. For theatrical releases, we have to plan and execute it properly.
Interesting facts about Fire of Teak Flame of Chinar
As the screenplay demanded, we needed some raindrops falling in a scene. We were all ready to shoot that scene but the sky was all clear with no scope of rain whatsoever. We rehearsed the scene 3 times and prayed for the rain to fall and suddenly a miracle happened, the raindrops started to pour. It was a fantastic experience.
Festivals and Awards
2nd Diorama International Film Festival & Market – Official Selection
26th Kolkata International Film Festival (Asian Select NETPAC AWARD category) - Official Selection
7th Rajasthan International Film Festival - Best Debut Director- Critic’sChoice
Druk International Film Festival - Winner, Outstanding Achievement Award
23rd UK ASIAN International Film Festival, London - Official Selection
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