Irfana Majumdar’s Hindi feature debut “Shankar’s Fairies” will have its world premiere on August 13 at the prestigious 74th Locarno Film Festival. The film will be premiered in the competition section, Concorso Cineasti del Presente, which showcases 15 feature films (first and second) by emerging global talents.
This year, the festival will be held in person from August 4 to 14 at Locarno, Switzerland, after having gone digital for its 2020 edition owing to the coronavirus pandemic.
Says debutante director-actor Irfana: “This is an intimate film about the almost unnoticed moments of life that shape us and our choices. We are tremendously excited for the film to be opening at Locarno and for people from around the world to watch it.”
“Shankar’s Fairies”, set in 1962 Lucknow, is based on her mother Nita Kumar’s childhood memories and shot in their ancestral home. The film is about the newly independent and idealistic India that is still class-bound and exploitative, and it tells the story of Shankar, a village man with a gift for storytelling, who brings up a police officer’s daughter while far away from his own family.
“Much of the story and characters are built from my mother’s childhood memories. My grandparents lived in a house from the colonial era, built by my great-grandfather. The specificity of the physical world, its habits and objects, were important to us. They have a beauty and fragility that mask an entrenched hierarchy and system of oppression that haunts India even today. My grandparents loved beautiful things, good food, and socializing,” says the director.
For Majumdar, it’s a personal film. The core team includes her mother Nita Kumar and husband, Gaurav Saini (associate and casting director, actor). The writer-producer-production designer of the film, Nita Kumar, says: “My own life was shaped by Shankar. I believe all children are influenced by stories, images and treasure the adults who share their imaginations with them.”
Irfana also made her acting debut in a prominent role in the film along with Jaihind Kumar, Shreeja Mishra, Adwik Mathur and Gaurav Saini.
The film was part of the prestigious 2019 Film Bazaar’s Work-In-Progress Lab and ‘NFDC Film Bazaar Goes to Cannes’ at the 2020 Marche Du Film.
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