Soumitro and Naseeruddin in new film to address ‘intolerance’
The world’s largest democracy, India has suddenly come under the loom of intolerance and what else but art and theatre, have always preached peaceful coexistence! In turbulent times, across any country in the world, we have always banked upon art when it comes to addressing social and political issues, because it is definitely a powerful medium. Be it music, film, theatre or painting, they are the most significant weapon of social consciousness and a leading factor in a collective change within the society.
This time round, two maestros of Indian cinema and theatre unite to address the disturbing times --- One has gifted us with gems like Jane Bhi Do Yaro, Mandi, Nishant, Ishqia and many more while the other through powerpack performances restructured the prototype of Bengali films in Ashani Sanket, Aparajito, Apur Sansar, Ghare Baire, Gana Shatru, and raised the bar to an international standard.
Yes, we are speaking of Naseeruddin Shah and Soumitro Chatterjee – the two jewels of Indian cinema and theatre whose contributions are simply endless. They have kept generations glued to the screen and we have often wished that they worked together. And they are finally coming together for Saibal Mitra’s ‘Debotar Grash’, which is primarily an adaptation of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E Lee’s ‘Inherit The Wind.’ Debotar Grash is a trilingual film that will talk about the most relevant issues in today’s times like intolerance and communalism which has torn the country into pieces.
The story is set in the backdrop of Hillolganj, where the majority are adivasis and Christians. Kunal Joseph, a science professor who is subjected to harassment, is compelled to teach ‘The Genesis of the Bible’ before Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Though he vehemently refuses saying Bible is not within his jurisdiction, he is accused of engaging in anti- Bible activities. This invites wrath from the management which throws the Professor behind bars. The trial begins in the court of Hillolganj where two famous lawyers Basanta Kumar Chatterjee played by Soumitro Chatterjee and Anthon D’Souza fight in favour of religious bias and the other against it.
The characters of the film will be seen speaking in Hindi, Bengali, English and other adivasi languages. Watching the two pillars of Indian cinema in the same frame under the backdrop of intolerance will truly be a treat to watch.