LIFF: Arshinagar (Mirrorsville)
Bengali with English subtitles | 134 min | India 2015 | Dir. Aparna Sen | with: Dev, Rittika Sen, Waheeda Rehman, Jishu Sengupta.
This breathtaking musical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet ties in with the Bard’s 400th anniversary celebrations globally. Arshinagar is a fictitious slum that the warring Khan and Mitra clans want to acquire to redevelop as malls and apartments. While the Khan and Mitra goons continue to engage in violent battles to seize the slum by fair means or foul, Bishwananath Mitra’s son Ronojoy and Sabir Khan’s daughter Zulekha happen to meet and fall in love at first sight. Aware of the consequences if their families come to know of their relationship, Rono and Julie conduct their love affair in secret. India’s best-known female director Aparna Sen deliciously re-imagines Shakespeare as a taboo Hindu-Muslim love story. Entirely told in rhyming verse, the musical set pieces are energetic, inventive and blend Indian and Western choreography to rapturous effect. And it is always a pleasure to see the reclusive legend Waheeda Rahman make a rare on-screen appearance.
This film will screen as part of the 7th Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival (14 - 21st July 2016) www.londonindianfilmfestival.co.uk