Acclaimed Indian actor Adil Hussain will headline director Bauddhayan Mukherji’s “Marichjhapi,” one of the new projects introduced this week at the Busan International Film Festival’s Asian Project Market.
Written by Abhinandan Banerjee and Mukherji, the film will follow the real events of January 1979, where refugees on Marichjhapi island, located in the Sundarbans delta located between India and Bangladesh, wake up to find police boats surrounding their island.
Over the next three months, the refugees are tear-gassed, their huts and fisheries destroyed, women raped, houses burnt, and they are fired upon in the middle of the night. And through all of this, relationships flourish and love blossoms.
Monalisa Mukherji will produce via her and Bauddhayan Mukherji’s outfit Little Lamb Films. “Marichjhapi” is budgeted at $800,000, too big to be self-financed. “For this one I will need co-producers,” Monalisa Mukherji told Variety. “People and countries not just supporting financially, but walking with me to fight this cause, standing against these atrocities. Money will come I know, the support must come first to stand together.”
Monalisa Mukherji will start production with 25% of the budget raised. The aim is to shoot on location at Sundarbans. Principal photography is expected to commence in winter 2020.
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Hussain’s credits include“Life of Pi,” “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” “Tigers,” “Parched,” “Angry Indian Goddesses” and Netflix series “Delhi Crime.” He will also be seen soon in season three of “Star Trek: Discovery.” Two films starring Hussain, “Nirvana Inn” and “The Wayfarers” premiered at Busan this year, in his presence.
“Mukherji’s story touched me to the core,” Hussain told Variety. “This is one of the ugliest betrayals in the history of humanity where trust, dreams, aspirations and dignity were brutally crushed by the very people who were supposed to protect them,” Hussain said.
A Cannes Silver Lion-winning veteran of the advertising world, Mukherji made his feature debut with 2014’s “Teenkahon” (“Three Obsessions”) and followed up with 2016’s “The Violin Player,” which also starred Hussain. Both films have received festival play around the world.