'This story needed to be told'
A couple of months ago, director Mrityunjay Devvrat faced problems shooting his film The Bastard Child in Bengal when he had a run-in with the Federation of Cine Technicians and Workers of Eastern India. A few days back, the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association objected to the use of word ‘bastard’ in its title. “What has been reported is just a miniscule percentage of the problems we have gone through while making this film,” says Devvrat, “There have been monetary issues, and even today, we’re facing a huge budgetary deficit when it comes to marketing and promoting the film.”
But at the end of it all, the filmmaker feels it was all well-worth it. “Anything is worth it if you can make your dream come true and for me, making this film has been a dream,” he says. This is the first feature film for Devvrat, who for all these years, has been concentrating on television commercials. And for his first feature film, he chose to take up the topic of the birth of Bangladesh in 1971 and the genocide that took place there. The filmmaker, who spent a couple of his growing up years in the country, says it’s a small token of his affection for the place where he took his first steps. And even though he shifted base to India later, the history of the place continued to fascinate him.
After a lot of research — which included speaking to journalists, war veterans, refugees and friends, and acquiring and pouring over books that had been banned — Devvrat was ready with a script. “The film is about Bengalis and their struggle to gain their rights,” he says. It has its share of violence, rapes and more, but Devvrat assures us that it’s all aesthetically shot. The filmmaker believes this is a story that needs to be told. “We don’t give a thought to the many Bangladeshis we see in the country, rich or poor. We take it for granted that they are here for a better life as we feel our country is superior to theirs, but we don’t realise what they have gone through,” he adds.
While Devvrat says he has no control over who comes to watch his film, he has a small request. “I want to urge people, who may not want to see my film, to spare some money and get a ticket for any Bangladeshi they know. It’s a fascinating piece of history which has deluded the world for too long,” he adds.