After the Partition drama “Rajkahini”, screened in the IFFI Panorama section, director Srijit Mukherjee now turns his focus on two Shakespearean classics Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra to stitch them together in his next film “Zulfikar”.
“‘Zulfikar’, set in modern day Kolkata, deals with the Kolkata underworld and I had done research on that. I have weaved the story of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony which is very much relevant in this age and the two plays come together in a singular plot,” Srijit said after a day’s shoot.
“As the first-ever double adaptation of Shakespeare on big screen, it encapsulates both politics, ambition, darkness and conflict in the two period dramas present in different measure,” Srijit said.
The director has roped in several big names of Bengali film industry Prosenjit Chatterjee, Dev to Jisshu Sengupta, Parambrata Chatterjee, Ankush, Kaushik Sen, Rudranil Ghosh from Paoli Dam, Nusrat Jahan, June Maliah to Kyra Dutt, one of the female leads in Madhur Bhandarkar’s “Calendar Girls”. He said that since all the characters in “Zulfikar” are larger than life, he chose only big names to do justice to a Shakespearean work.
Asked about his taking up “big canvas” subjects back to back, Srijit said that it was needed to make films on issues like period drama, displacement and partition.
He said that Bengali films need to go beyond the cliched subjects of extramarital affairs and drawing room dramas.
“We need to take up subjects like horror, science fiction and fantasy tales. It has to be addressed quickly,” he said.
“Julius Caesar is close to my heart because it was the first Shakespearean text I read in school. Antony and Cleopatra, also my favourites,fit in due to the emotions in the drama,” he said.