A film for people, by the people

Filmmaker Ujjal Basu is making his latest film Doodhpulir Gaach purely on crowd-funding from the villagers of his native village Aranghata in Nadia.

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A six-year-old village boy imagines that if seeds planted in the ground can sprout trees and new fruits, then even pithe-puli can also grow on trees if they are buried in the ground. An imagination and fantasy world of a little boy that stand as a contrast to the realities around him is the story of Doodhpulir Gaach. Director Ujjal Basu’s latest production has caught everyone’s attention for unusual reasons. The entire film is being produced on crowd-funding and the fund is coming from the people of Aranghata village in Nadia where the film is being shot. A native of Aranghata itself, Ujjal thought of approaching all the people of his village to jointly produce his film, Doodhpulir Gaach.

Shooting in progress at Aranghata

“I didn’t want to approach any producer to do this film. I wanted to fund it differently. We have seen how great directors like Onir and Shyam Benegal have made films based on crowd-funding and the films were also successful. So, I approached the people of Aranghata and explained to them that they can contribute and become a part of this huge project,” said Ujjal. Aranghata is a village of 27,000 families and Ujjal received funds from most of them. “I lived in this village for many years and even taught in the school here before I moved to Calcutta. I thought it best to approach my own villagers to fund my film. Everyone in the village is very excited about the fact that they are part of a film. They come to watch the shooting that is happening in the village itself. But they are very disciplined and co-operative. They do exactly how I tell them to,” said Ujjal. So far, Ujjal has managed to collect enough funds to take care of the initial shooting expenses. “There are other people who have promised to give.  I have not forced anyone, each person is contributing whatever they can. Some gave me Rs 1,000 while the amount went up to Rs 10,000,” said Ujjal.

Ujjal Basu with the children starring in his film

Doodhpulir Gaach has a huge cast of children, none of whom have ever seen a film camera in their lives. The 65 to 70 children who are acting in this film are from the village itself. “They are very excited about the whole project. In the beginning I had to control them, but now they ask for their own scripts so that they can practise at home,” said Basu. The film is being made following all the rules and regulations of filmmaking. Other than the children the cast of the film also include Tollywood actors Damini Beni Basu, Kaushik Roy and Chhanda Chattopadhyay. The music director for the film is Pandit Tanmoy Bose and Santanu Banerjee is on camera. Shooting has been completely done at Aranghata.

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