Irfana Majumdar’s debut in Hindi, “Shankar’s Fairies”, has its world premiere on August 13 at the prestigious 74th Locarno Film Festival. The film premieres in the competition section, Concorso Cineasti del Presente, which shows 15 feature films (first and second) of new global talents.
This year, the festival will be held in person from August 4 to 14 in Locarno, Switzerland, after going digital for its 2020 edition due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Debutant director-actress Irfana says: “This is an intimate film about the almost unnoticed moments in life that shape us and our choices. We are hugely excited that the film is opening at Locarno and that people from all over the world can see it. ”
“Shankar’s Fairies”, played in 1962 Lucknow, is based on her mother Nita Kumar’s childhood memories and shot in their ancestral home. The film is about the newly independent and idealistic India, which is still class-bound and exploitative, and it tells the story of Shankar, a villager with a gift for storytelling who raises a police officer’s daughter while he is far away from his own family.
“Much of the story and characters are built on my mother’s childhood memories. My grandparents lived in a colonial house built by my great-grandfather. The specificity of the physical world, its habits and objects were important to us. They have a beauty and fragility that masks an entrenched hierarchy and system of oppression that haunts India even today. My grandparents loved beautiful things, good food and socializing, ”says the instructor.
For Majumdar, it’s a personal film. The core team includes her mother Nita Kumar and husband, Gaurav Saini (associate and cast, actress). The film’s co-producer-production designer, Nita Kumar, says: “My own life was shaped by Shankar. I believe all children are influenced by stories, images and appreciate the adults who share their imagination with them. ”
Irfana also debuted in a prominent role in the film alongside Jaihind Kumar, Shreeja Mishra, Adwik Mathur and Gaurav Saini.
The film was part of the prestigious 2019 Film Bazaar’s Work-In-Progress Lab and ‘NFDC Film Bazaar Goes to Cannes’ at the Marche Du Film 2020.