“EI POTH JODI NA SHESH HOYE”

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“EI POTH JODI NA SHESH HOYE”

Poster and music release of Bengali Feature Film Directed by – SOHAM DASGUPTA, Presented by – SOHAM DASGUPTA FILMS at Kolkata press club.

Summary

Soviet concentration camp escapees travel 9,000 kilometers by foot to freedom in India. A small band of multicultural convicts stages a daring escape from a World War II-era Siberian prisoner camps, and embarks on a treacherous journey across five countries in a desperate race for freedom and survival. They face freezing nights, lack of food and water, mosquitoes, an endless desert, the Himalayas, as well as many moral and ethical dilemmas throughout the journey towards freedom.

SYNOPSIS

The SYNOPSIS below may give away important plot points In 1941, Dr. AbhayMitra (an Indian medical investigator) is held by Soviets as a spy, interrogated by their secret security police. When the interrogators cannot force him to admit he is a spy, they bring his wife (Dr. SrijaMitra) in and coerce statements from her condemning Abhay. He is sentenced to lifetime imprisonment in a forced labour camp in remote Siberia.

At the camp, Abhay meets an American Mr. White, a psycho actor Albert, a hardened Russian criminal Zakhar, a Polish artist Eric, a Latvian suffering from night blindness Timoor and a couple of more foreigners who were held as spies. Albert secretly tells Abhay that he is planning to escape south to Mongolia, passing Lake Baikal. It turns out that it’s just Albert’s fantasy to keep his own morale high, but Abhay decides to implement the plan. He escapes with Mr. White, Grigory, Timoor, Boris and Karina (a local village girl) during a severe snowstorm that they rely on to cover their tracks. During the second night of their escape Timoor loses his way to the group and fire while looking for wood and dies of snakebite. He’s buried that morning by the group. After many days of travel across the snows and forests of Siberia they reach Lake Baikal where they meet Eric, Ivan and Zakhar.

There they meet two refugee girls named Valeria and Olivia, who tell them that their parents were murdered by Soviets soldiers and about their escape from a collective farm near Moscow. They lied to Mr. White for gaining sympathy, but it turns out that they tried to conceal a more tragic experience. The group let’s Olivia and Valeria join them. When they reach an unpatrolled border between Russia and Mongolia Zakhar decides to stay back, as he still sees Russia as his mother nation (home country). Valeria falls in love with Zakhar and decides to stay back with him.

The rest continue towards the south and realize Mongolia is nearby and now they are safe. They decide that they must continue to India by walking all the way from China to Tibet over the Himalayas. As they continue south, they cross the vast Gobi desert, and face a severe lack of water, sandstorms, skin burned to red-flesh, blisters, and sun strokes.

Olivia collapses several times and dies, soon followed by Eric. Mr. White seems near death too, but motivated by Abhay rejoins him, Karina, Grigory and Boris. All of them find a puddle of muddy water and avoid death. Abhay and others find Karina to be a spy from Poland who tried to kill all of them for the access of a secret medical formula from Abhay, however to keep everyone alive, Abhay being a doctor, brutally murders Karina. When they get close to the Himalayas, days pass and they find themselves near the Great Wall of China. The journey continues with high hopes and they reach a monastery after crossing China towards Tibet, where they are fed and sheltered, regaining their strength. They are advised to wait three months, until spring, to finish the trip to Lhasa, But Mr. White, the American, decides to go to Lhasa immediately to join American military camp there.

The next morning, Abhay, in search of his lost wife Srija, starts walking over the snow covered Himalayas, towards Northern India and the rest start following them and The journey is still Not over.

DIRECTOR’S WRITE UP

For me, directing “Ei Poth Jodi Na Shesh Hoye” was a crash course in megalomania. After having a hundred people obeying your every whim all day, it was hard to go back from set and be normal. While the journey, film making was rarely glamorous. Being ankle deep in gypsy life every single day was the reality for the whole cast and crew. When I read the script for the first time, I thought this is where my artists could show their acting excellence.

However while shooting the first shot, I realised that was a wrong thought. I had to change the way my actors were thinking and asked them to be just natural and present and stop acting! Techniques never worked as we planned, it was about pushing the actors towards the direction having the spirit of the survival where nature was their biggest enemy. We never had the feeling of the beautiful sceneries on the mountains or on vast deserts as we had tough times there additionally there were more than 40 crew people talking all the time which was sometimes kind of irritating for me while directing the film. I had to often ask my team for just having 30 seconds quietness before we shoot the shots, so we could sense where we were because we were nowhere and that’s what the story is about. The film is about resistance and persistence. Like the film, its making was about breathing in and breathing out which was kind of living in On and Off the set being in the moment all the time.

The story of the film was similar to the story what was happening to us. We had to struggle with the scorching heat of the Rajasthan desert, the red hot mud of Medinipore and the chilly, snowy weathers in the Himalayas at Sikkim. We all had to develop a hard mentality while the journey of making this film. We created the deprivation on the sets and locations, in the wild and the mountain tops which was a fantastic part of the shoot which actually helped us to work on something very realistic. Every character in the film had their own reason to be in the journey. I really enjoyed having a large cast (a group of fresher actors) on the camera. In this case, the characters were a group of different cultures for a large part of the film and I enjoyed working with each and every one of them, working together for a couple of months during this never-ending like journey. I had to always do more than the normal homework with the characters. They all were great with the challenge and they knew who they were. The film is very much of discovery of humanity. We all were really living the film.