Saturday, Jan 22, 2022
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Kalkutta Mail

It's a cross-cultural landmark—a German film unit making a Bengali movie on a Bengal-based story

Kalkutta Mail
Kalkutta Mail
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In comes Norbert Preuss, fiftysomething producer of The Shadows of Time, a Bengali film on a Bengal-based story, and plunges into business straightaway. Director Florian Gallenberger, 31, who won an Oscar for his short film Quiero Ser (I Want To Be) in 2001, is busy shooting. This is the first time a foreign film unit has chosen to handle a patently Indian (Bengali) theme, shooting entirely in India, using the local language. A cross-cultural landmark clearly. But what is the rationale for such a film for a German filmmaker? Preuss looks thoughtful: "The story could be that of India itself. It deals with a person who starts from nothing, but builds himself a fortune through hard work, tracing his journey from pre-Independence to post-independence Bengal. But life is not all roses. Fate denies him his one love whom he knew as a little girl and never forgot. They meet again in later life, a brief encounter, a surge of old feelings...I should not tell you more."

Gallenberger, for whom shooting in Calcutta was an experience in itself, and Preuss were approached by the talented writer/director Helmut Dietl, who developed the storyline for Shadows. Dietl's Schtonkl! had won an Oscar nomination for best foreign film in 1993. Gallenberger himself wrote the screenplay for Shadows...in German. It was translated into English and then Bengali.

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