Set in the backdrop of the autumnal festival to worship goddess Durga, Kahaani, starring Vidya Balan as the protagonist, was one of the biggest blockbuster films of 2012, grossing 16 times its budget in that year itself. Written and directed by Sujoy Ghosh, the plot sees Vidya Bagchi (Vidya Balan), a software engineer from London, coming to Kolkata in search of her missing husband Arnav Bagchi and in the process finding her amidst a perilous conspiracy.
The film, which appealed to the general Indian masses to a large extent, is now getting remade for a worldwide audience by the Danish director, Niels Arden Oplev, the maker of the original Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Män som hatar kvinnor, in Swedish). The idea for this remake, titled Deity, was initiated by YRF Entertainment, which would produce the film, and which has landed Jose Rivera and Richard Regen, two of the best writers, to write the screenplay.
Kahaani by Sujoy Ghosh
The remake, like the original Hindi film, would be a thriller about an American woman who travels to Kolkata in search of her missing husband. As she gets closer to the truth, she finds herself at the centre of a dangerous scheme. Like Kahaani, Deity would also unfold in the context of the colourful and week-long festival of Durga Puja, as celebrated in Kolkata.
One of the better film-makers, Niels is a multiple award-winning director who is known for his intricacy and mystifying distinctiveness while depicting his characters in a film.
Sujoy Ghosh is excited to see his film being remade in Hollywood. Talking about the remake, he said, “Years back, Aditya Chopra had said he wanted to make Kahaani for a global audience…I thought he was kidding. But obviously not."
What this movie wishes to depict is the fascinating clash between the American and Indian cultures and the suspenseful story unfolding within the obscurity of this city, things which would drive the audience to connect to the ‘City of Joy’ without having to travel to the metropolis itself. This enthralling collision between American and Indian cultures would showcase Kolkata in a different light than what it’s assumed to be.
Niels is also inspired to portray the rich culture and heritage of the city. The yellow cabs, the laid-back trams and the people traveling in it, the warmth and hospitality of the hotel staff, the overcrowded traffic, the overwhelming metro trains, several hundred lanes covered with dilapidated old houses, women clad in red-bordered white sarees and the innocent-looking teenage boy serving tea in bhads (little earthen tea cups) would throw the viewers into a longing to visit this urban setting.
Glimpses from the City of Joy
With several films and documentaries in different languages having been shot in this city, Kolkata has now wooed both film-makers and the audience with its charm and perfect scenic backdrops for the silver screen.
Deity is due to be shot from February 2015, with actor-director Arindam Sil’s company, Nothing Beyond Cinema, handling the regional production. This much-anticipated film of 2015 would bring the capital of West Bengal into the limelight once again, only this time on a much bigger canvas, in a mainstream Hollywood motion picture.
Written by Ankita Bose for Team M3.tv