At the 16th Mumbai Film Festival, acclaimed director Goran Paskaljevic announced his plans to make an Indian film titled ‘Dev Bhoomi’ starring India’s legendary and acclaimed actor Victor Banerjee. The director credited for creating the first private company of production of cinema in former Yugoslavia, is soon to add another first to his credit, that of filming the first ever Indo-Serbian co-production.
‘Dev Bhoomi’ explores the home coming of a 65 year old man, Rahul, who, when he discovers he is going blind, decides to return from England to his village in Garhwal, in India, to take one last look at the world he ran away from, 40 years ago. The film besides exploring the vagaries of life, will paint a quaint, picturesque yet intense side of Garhwal. Produced by Milan Markovic, the film will be entirely shot in the scenic state Uttarakhand by March-April 2015. The director with his team has been travelling to Dehradun and nearby places in Uttarakhand for scouting locations.
Addressing members from the press, Goran shared, “Dev Bhoomi is a story of simple dramatic structure, tense inside, without a lot of external effects, an intimate poem, such as the sound of the ancient flute that accompanies Rahul along the magnificent landscape of the Himalayas.” Giving an added glimpse of his vision, he added, “Similar to the style of naive paintings with their strong color, teeming with folk motifs, in the background is revealed the complexity of contemporary Indian society in rural mountainous areas, far from cities. That’s the kind of film I would like to make.”
With his cinematic creations spanning 30 documentaries and 16 feature films, Goran Paskaljevic besides being one of Europe's most respected directors is a known name worldwide. His work has been showcased and acclaimed at the most prestigious international film festivals such as Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto and San Sebastian to name a few. He is also the President of the India Gold Jury and Guest of Honor of the 16th Mumbai Film Festival.
Victor Banerjee fans and movie buffs at the Mumbai Film Festival were thrilled over the announcement of ‘Dev Bhoomi’. The veteran actor appeared to be equally delighted on teaming up with award winning Serbian director, Goran Paskaljevic. “Goran and I have been contemporaries, friends, co-jury members at festivals for many years. This film gave us a chance to add another dimension to our association, that of expressing ourselves through a film, together. He is a gifted film maker who trusts his instincts and beautifully depicts real life imagery through cinema and it is a great feeling to work with him on an Indian subject.”
Lead actor and co-writer of the film, Victor Banerjee shot to world fame for his portrayal of Dr. Aziz in David Lean's screen adaptation of E. M. Forster's ‘Passage to India’. Known for his iconic roles in Hindi, Bengali and English language films, he has worked for prominent directors such as Roman Polanski, James Ivory, Sir David Lean, Jerry London, Ronald Neame, Mrinal Sen, Shyam Benegal, Satyajit Ray and Ram Gopal Varma.
Banerjee also unfolded a discreet side of his character in the film, “Rahul returns to his erstwhile village after 40 years to ‘take’ one last look at the world he ran away from, but as circumstances beget, he only ends up ‘giving’ something to the village and his heavenly Himalayan abode.”
Paskaljevic, while focused on the upcoming film too seemed overjoyed for his wish to work with his old friend Victor Banerjee is being granted. “The movie besides being a beautiful tale from the hinterlands of India will present endless images of beauty I have seen. It is a story of a primeval need to get back to one’s roots that Victor will enhance further with his presence and far-reaching expressive portrayal,” added the endowed director.