'Rickshawala' travels to Melbourne, Madrid

After winning hearts of critics and audience alike with 'Season's Greetings', author-turned-director Ram Kamal Mukherjee is out with his third feature, 'Rickshawala', which is set in the heart of Kolkata.

At a time when the plight of migrant workers has moved the nation, the film charts the story of Manoj, a rickshaw puller from Bihar, who comes to Kolkata in search of work. The short film, which stars Bollywood actor Avinash Dwivedi and Sangita Sinha in the lead roles is a tribute to Roland Joffe's 'City of Joy' and also to Om Puri, who played a rickshawala in the film.

The Indian film has been selected at the prestigious 'Imagine India International Film Festival' in Madrid, Spain and also at 11th 'International Indian Film Festival of Melbourne'.

The film revolves around contemporary issues of unemployment and migrant oppression in India.

"I am happy that our film has been selected for prestigious festivals. I wanted to tell a simple story and since I have spent my childhood in north Kolkata, I wanted to tell this story of rickshaw pullers," said director Ram Kamal Mukherjee.

He added, "This is 70th birth anniversary of Om Puri ji and it is our humble offering to someone who left such a legacy of performances through his body of work."

Nandita Puri, wife of the legendary actor said, "Om ji believed in new makers and their visions. As we are gearing up for his 70th Anniversary (October 18), this news comes as a great surprise. 'Rickshawala' will be remembered for its simple and yet provoking narrative."

Melbourne festival curator Uma da Cunhna said, "Ram's film is a telling depiction of the disparities and hardship faced by a migrant whose life encompasses the travails of the needy in cosmopolitan Kolkata."

This year, the festival will be celebrated virtually, starting from October 23.

Last year, 'IFFM' was attended by dignitaries like Shah Rukh Khan, Tabu, Arjun Kapoor, Vijay Sethupathi, Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Sriram Raghavan and many others. This year, the seven-day festival will screen over 60 films from all across India and the subcontinent in over 22 languages.

Produced under the banner of 'Assorted Motion Pictures' and 'GeeDee Films', the film is shot by Modhura Palit, who was awarded last year at the prestigious 'Cannes Film Festival' in 2019.

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