Darjeeling-based Tibetan filmmaker Shenpenn Khymsar is all set to make his directorial debut with a Hindi-Nepali film, ‘Broken Wings’.
The film, set in the backdrop of Gorkhaland agitation during 1988 to 1992, ventures on a inter-caste love story. It has been brought to life by a mostly Northeastern cast and few from mainstream including Endo, Sunakshi Grover, Vinay Pathak, Shubhdeep Raha, Neetu Panday, Reuben Pradhan, Nima Sherpa, Mingma Lhamo Tamang, and Bhavya Sharma.
EastMojo caught up with Shenpenn Khymsar in a exclusive telephonic interview a day after the release of the movie teaser.
First of all, Khymsar clarifed that his film is not bi-lingual, infact its multi-lingual, as characters in his film speak Hindi, Nepali, English and Bengali.
Talking about his film, he said, “I am trying to tell the story as it is”.
He stated that Darjeeling is an integral part of India where people mostly speak in Nepali, but whenever people hear Nepali, especially the Hindi speaking belt and the Southern audience, they think its from Nepal. “But I want them to know that Nepali infact is a constitutional language in India.”
He asserted that Darjeeling has been a victim of politics.
On why he picked the Gorkhaland agitation and cross culture love story, two complex issues together, Khymsar said, “Because I have lived through it myself. I have heard every single dialogue of the movie in my life.”
He added, “Love story is a universal emotion which every single race and culture experiences.” Khymsar says that his film is a Shakespearan Romeo-Juliet story in a different era and setting.
However, it is the first time in Indian cinema that the lead is a Northeastern boy and a Marwari girl, he added.
The cinematographer who had been in the West for over two decades has decided to set shop at home. He said, “Its good to start where your roots are.”
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Talking about being the first to shoot a film in darjeeling about Darjeeling, he said, “It has taken Darjeeling 72 years after Independence to tell our own story. I am honoured that I am the first from the Hills, but I should have been the 10th or 20th person to do so.”
He added, its important for the mainland industry to expand, and at the same time, for the people of Darjeeling should introspect.
“I am trying to be the wind below the Broken Wings”, he stated. Adding that he is striving to inspire the youth of Darjeeling hills, as “Many love stories, dreams and aspirations were crushed, and that to in vain.”
On shooting with Vinay Pathak, an experienced, senior actor from Bollywood and the theater industry, Shenpenn said, “I am glad that he believed in me and my film.”
Pathak plays the role of the District Magistrate of Darjeeling.
The filmmaker said, “Vinay ji is immensely talented and knowledgeable. It was very easy and comfortable to work and communicate with him.”
He added that the senior actor is, “Most down to earth and super cool.”
On a concluding note, Khymsar said, tea and toy train is not the identity of Darjeeling. It’s just geography. The true essence of Darjeeling is the people.
The movie was shot on two schedules, the first was from January to February which was successfully shot in Darjeeling. The second leg was to be shot in Mumbai, however, due to the pandemic it kept on getting postponed.
Eventually Khymsar rewrote the last part of the film and shot it in Siliguri in July. He said the entire team took care of all COVID-19 norms and took all precautions.
The team faced some difficulties from the locals during the shoot, however, that didn’t deter him from completing the film.
‘Broken Wings’ will be ready in 2 months, and released worldwide in the next 4 to 6 months, informed Khymsar.