For the first time United Nations under Free and Equal have collaborated with an Indian feature film A Tribute to Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings. The feature film is directed by author turned filmmaker Ram Kamal Mukherjee, who made his debut in Esha Deol starrer short film Cakewalk early this year. Season’s Greetings also marks the return of Bollywood actor Celina Jaitly Haag post marriage and motherhood as female lead in this film with debutant Azhar Khan. Veteran theatre and movie star Lillette Dubey plays the role of Celina’s on screen mother. Shot at beautiful locales in Kolkata, the film had to go through layers of scanning before United Nations and their team from Geneva decided to officially be the social cause collaborators.
Rikke Hennum, United Nations Free and Equal Campaign Manager in an official statement says, “We’re delighted to have support director Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s Indian feature film A Tribute to Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings, for United Nation’s Free & Equal — the global campaign for equality for LGBTQIA people around the world. We know from experience that films like this can play a critical role in starting and sustaining those conversations. We look forward to working with Ram Kamal and his team behind Season’s Greetings — to help raise awareness of some of the issues the film touches upon — from acceptance of same sex relationships, to the lives of LGBTQIA people in India.”
Speaking on the most anticipated collaboration director Ram Kamal Mukherjee says, “This was unexpected and yet a pleasant surprise. When Celina suggested that we must show the film to UN, I was a bit nervous thinking that it’s an Indian film and they might not get the soul. But they proved me wrong, and I was overwhelmed with their detailed feedback on the film. I am sure Ritu da would have been the happiest today.” The film is produced by Aritra Das and Shailendra Kumar under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures and SS1 Entertainment respectively. The film has been selected at various international festivals across the globe and will be released in India by end of this year.
Speaking about the collaboration Celina says, “I am extremely proud of the fact that United Nations has agreed to be the social cause partner under their Free & Equal campaign for the film. The film went through the entire screening process and eventually United Nations Free and Equal felt that we need to talk about this story globally. The film’s release comes at an historic moment for India’s lesbian, gay, bi and trans population, following the decision of the country’s Supreme Court to strike down a colonial-era ban on consensual same sex relationships and previous court judgements affirming the rights of transgender people.”
Throwing further light on the subject, Celina added, “The film is special for me in many ways. Apart from the fact that this is my first collaboration with my dear friend Ram Kamal Mukherjee as a director, this is my first film to be shot in Kolkata, my hometown.”
In the picture: Debubant Azhar Khan, Celina Jaitly Haag, Director Ram Kamal Mukherjee and Lillette Dubey.
Photo by Sudipta Chanda
The film deals with a mother and daughter relationship that ends with an unexpected twist in the tale. Just like any Rituparno Ghosh movie, this one deals with human emotions, in various hues. “I am glad to have shared screen space with a legend like Lillette Dubey ma’am who plays the role of my mother in the film,” she added.
Celina feels, “Changing attitudes is never easy but it has happened on other issues and it is happening already in many parts of the world on this one. It begins with often difficult conversations and this film somehow is about starting that “one” difficult conversation through a mother daughter relationship. With UN coming on board as a social partner we are hoping this film will strike a global chord by reaching out to people around the world with a emotional message in similar circumstances.” The film marks Bollywood debut of a transgender actor Shree Ghatak in the film. The film will be premiered at Changing Face International Film Festival in Sydney, Australia in November.
Second Image Caption from Left to Right
Celina Jaitly, director Ram Kamal Mukherjee, Lillette Dubey, Azhar Khan, producer Aritra Das and Shailendra Kumar