It took us 4 years to reach the draft which went to Cannes L’Atelier: Shivajee and Triparna

By Nandita Dutta • Published on March 20, 2012

[T]he Untold Tale, a project by Shivajee Chandrabhushan and Triparna Banerjee has gained the distinction of being the first Indian project to make it to Cinefondation’s L’Atelier at Cannes Film Festival 2012. The film to be directed by Shivajee Chandrabhushan and written by Triparna Banerjee is about a young puppeteer’s journey to India that unravels her true identity. The story begins in Spain, travels through France and culminates in Rajasthan. Shivajee and Triparna reveal more about their project:

The film is set in Spain, France and India. How did the idea originate?

Shivajee:  It originated from a simple idea of “going back to the roots” concept. During the festival rounds of Frozen, I got a chance to visit Spain. There I discovered the connection of Gypsies to North India. Whether it is spices, clothes, colors, music, dance and language, there is a connection between these communities and India. I had the thread already and then we started weaving the story which took the shape as “The Untold Tale”.

What kind of research went into writing this film? How long did it take?

Triparna Banerjee

Triparna:  It took us nearly four years to reach the draft which went to L’Atelier.

The story spans 60 years. So lots of research went into the history of that period and also the socio-political conditions of these countries. Also music plays an important role in the narrative; some research went into that area too. The recorded history says that there was a movement of Gypsies from the Northern India towards Europe through Central Asia and hence the similarities between the dance forms of Kathak and Flamenco.

Could you throw some light on the selection procedure for Cinefondation’s L’Atelier?

Triparna:  L’Atelier doesn’t have a set submission process of filling up forms or anything like that. It is mainly by invitation. We met the Director of Cinefondation at Busan and after hearing the concept he asked us to apply for L’Atelier.

The final selection is done mainly on the basis of quality of the screenplay and past work of the director. Also they require at least one producer and some funding to be at place.

Have you got any co-producers on board? How did they get attached with the project?

Shivajee Chandrabhushan

Shivajee:  We have Cosmopolis Films of France as the major producer with Shivajee Chandrabhushan Films being the other one. We had a meeting with their Managing Director at Busan International Film Festival last October. We sent him the script, the same one which we had submitted to L’Atelier. He got back to us before L’Atelier actually and expressed his desire to be the French producer.

I think the biggest factor other than him liking the script is the fact that this is a unique project coming out of India and also the film is to be shot in France. One more point could be that the protagonist is a French girl that needs to be played by a French actress. And then the final good news for all of us was the selection at L’ Atelier which gives us  recognition by Festival De Cannes.

In what phase is it currently? 

Triparna:  We are still working on the screenplay and preparing for Cannes. In fact we were at Paris last week for location recce. We met our co-producer and Film France and also with some technical crew. We plan to shoot by March next year.

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