Director Raj Chakraborty is upbeat that his upcoming Bengali film ‘Dharmajuddha’ (Holy War), which deals with the dangers of communal violence, will strike a chord with the audience and drive home the message of harmony.
Chakraborty said the film was ready for release in March 2020, but the the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns delayed its screening. It will now release on Thursday.
"I think ‘Dharmajuddha’ is equally relevant today and I was happy to see the response during its screening at the recent Kolkata International Film Festival, where people gave it a standing ovation. We also paid tribute to one of the pivotal characters Swatilekha Sengupta, who is no more with us,” he said.
The director said the film does not directly refer to any particular incident of communal violence, but religious strife is a “sad reality in this country and elsewhere in the world” and ordinary citizens are the most affected.
“Through the film, I have tried to portray that communalism can pollute and brainwash the minds of poor people. And, this is the ploy of fundamentalist elements of any religion while trying to indoctrinate people. As a creative person, I want to convey this message through my favourite medium of cinema,” said Chakraborty, who is also the Trinamool Congress MLA from Barrackpore.
Chakraborty said the film is also a tribute to Sengupta, the actor in Satyajit Ray's classic ‘Ghare Baire’ among others, who enacts the role of an elderly woman in ‘Dharmajuddha’.
"We missed her during the screening at KIFF... Her void will always be felt,” he said.
Besides Sengupta, the film stars Subhashree Ganguly, Ritwick Chakraborty, Soham Chakraborty and Parno Mittra.