Programme

ONCE UPON A TIME IN CALCUTTA

Aditya Vikram Sengupta

India, France, Norway, 2021 / 131 min / Bengali OV with English subtitles / Drama

After the death of her daughter, Ela not only loses her identity as a mother, but also the only reason to be with her husband. When she is refused a home loan by the bank, her boss, owner of a massive Ponzi scheme, makes her an offer she struggles to accept. Ela reconnects with her stepbrother to reclaim her half of an old family theater, but he refuses, blaming Ela for his own dark fate. In between all this, Ela’s childhood sweetheart resurfaces and gives her the warmth and hope for a new beginning. Just as Ela starts living the life she had dreamed for herself, she realizes that she isn’t the only scavenger in the city brimming with hunger. The film unveils the interconnected lives of people struggling to live in a city that is experiencing the aftermath of a communist regime. It is also a reflection on the changes of the city as captured through the experiences of a diverse group of characters who, like many people on this planet, are tied to each other through money, desire, blood, marriage and basic need.

“This film is a culmination of personal feelings and emotions for the city of Calcutta and its people, especially as it tries to catch up to the rapidly changing world. Leveraging real characters and actual events, the film is my effort to chip away the various layers of the previously communist city to reveal a human condition that is tragic and yet full of hope and joy. The film highlights the aspirations and struggles of people gasping for breath in an ever-expanding metropolis. For the viewer, I have tried to create a real glimpse into the murky waters of Calcutta, with colourful characters, all trying very hard to find a corner of their own without drowning.” Director’s statement Aditya Vikram Sengupta

Screenings
Wed 09/03 14:00 Cinémathèque Bengali OV with ENG subt Public https://luxfilmfestfilms.megatix.be/en/HO00004382?locationFilters=LFFCI&dateTime...

"A cinematic poem to contemporary Kolkata, from Indian directing prodigy Aditya Vikram Sengupta" David Katz, CIneuropa, 13/09/2021

"Indian cineaste Aditya Vikram Sengupta delivers a slow-burning and delicate ensemble drama about the corrupted state of his hometown. " Clarence Tsui, The Film Verdict, 12/10/2021

"A NUANCED AND INTIMATE PORTRAIT OF URBAN DECAY AND METAMORPHOSIS" Arun Kumar, High on Films, 10/09/2021

" Once Upon A Time In Calcutta is a triumph. It meshes the intimate with the epic with glorious felicity." Saibal Chatterjee, NTDV, 08/09/2021

Awards
  • Official Selection, Orizzonti Section, Venice Film Festival (2021), Italy
Cast & Credits
Cast 
Sreelekha Mitra, Shayak Roy, Bratya Basu, Arindam Ghosh, Satrajit Sarkar, Anirban Chakrabarti, Reetika Nondini Sheemu
Screenplay 
Aditya Vikram Sengupta
Cinematographer 
Gökhan Tiryaki
Montage 
Aditya Vikram Sengupta
Music 
Minco Eggersman
Production 
Jonaki Bhattacharya
Distribution 
Pluto Film
Biography

Aditya Vikram Sengupta is born in 1983 in Kolkata, India.
His debut film Labour of Love, premiered at the Venice Film Festival 2014, Giornate Degli Autori, where it won the FEDEORA for Best Debut Film. The film was also feted with 2 Indian National Film Awards in 2015 including the prestigious Golden Lotus for Best Debut Film. His second feature Jonaki had its world premiere at the prestigious International Film Festival of Rotterdam 2018. Once Upon a Time in Calcutta is his latest film. It was first ever Bengali language feature to be a part of Cannes Cinéfondation’s L’Atelier at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. 

Filmography
  • 2021 - Once Upon a Time in Calcutta
  • 2018 - Jonaki
  • 2014 - Labour of Love
  • 2007 - Cigarettes Kill (court-métrage, short film, Kurzfilm)
  • 2006 - A Song of Innocence (court-métrage, short film, Kurzfilm)
  • 2006 - Kite Flying (court-métrage, short film, Kurzfilm)
  • 2004 - Chhaaya (court-métrage, short film, Kurzfilm)