Rupantar Going beyond Mahabharat | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 06, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 06, 2009

Silver Screen

Rupantar Going beyond Mahabharat

Referring to the epic “Mahabharata,” Abu Sayeed’s latest film “Rupantar” follows ‘the film within a film’ genre.

Referring to the epic "Mahabharata," Abu Sayeed's latest film "Rupantar" follows 'the film within a film' genre. Young filmmaker Arif (played by Ferdaus) wants to make a film titled "Gurudakkhina," based on the tragedy of Eklavya.
The film, "Rupantar," randomly takes the audience into two different eras -- nearly 3000-year-old ancient India, where the Ekalavya tragedy unfolds and Arif's endeavour to visualise it in from a contemporary perspective.
Arif's film opens with a scene where legendary warrior and trainer Dronacharya is giving archery lessons to his famous disciples, the five Pandav brothers. Eager to learn the art of archery, Ekalavya (played by Mithun) suddenly appears and seeks the tutelage of Drona.
Drona refuses 'nishad kumar' Ekalavya because of his origin; Ekalavya belongs to a lower caste. However, the aspiring young warrior assumes Drona as his master and starts practicing archery in a deep forest.
After completing shooting indoors, Arif and his crew go to the outdoors. They select a Santal village to shoot the film.
One day, while shooting a scene of Ekalavya's archery practice, Arif is interrupted by two locals. He overhears them talking about the protagonist's incorrect archery technique. According to Santal tradition, the thumb is useless in archery; the Santals use the index and the middle fingers instead.
This revelation perplexes Arif. As far as he knows, Dronacharya wanted Eklabya's thumb, considered integral in archery, as his 'gurudakkhina' (tribute to the master). A confused Arif cannot decide what to do now, as the central theme of the film is Ekalavya's sacrifice.
Arif soon realises that he has to change everything. He makes major changes in the plot and starts afresh. He even changes the title of the film to "Rupantar."
Abu Sayeed won an award at Rotterdam Film Festival 2007 for the script of this film.
Performances by Jayanta Chattopadhyay, Shakiba and Santal actor Jatem Tudu in the film are noteworthy.
"Rupantar" premiered last weekend at Star Cineplex. It is one of the three films that received a government grant last year.

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