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Sohra Bridge, memories of another day

Language: Bengali
Year of Release: 2015
Duration: 104 minutes
Section: Indian Panorama
Screening on: November 25, at 3.30 p.m.
Place: Inox Screen II
‘Sohra Bridge’, which finds its origin in the excerpts from a poem by Albanian author and poet, Ismail Kadare – “The memory of you dies in me day by day/ Now, I am looking everywhere for a place to drop you” – is an emotional tale of a daughter (Niharika Singh), who embarks upon a journey across the remote expanses of North-East India, in search of her father (Barun Chanda).
Beautifully woven around the memories of the girl about her father, the film has a lyrical approach to the subject of a father-daughter relationship. Arriving in Sohra, in Cherrapunjee, located in the present East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, to bury old memories, she comes face to face with her past instead. Memories erupt endlessly, drawing her towards a complex labyrinth of recollections and imagination, after failing to find her father.
The father a writer by profession, who arrived years earlier at the particular place, from Kolkata, to write articles in support of the sectarian extremist groups, has been missing for some time. As the daughter unsuccessfully tries to gather bits and pieces of information about him from locals, she gets closer to her non-existing father through her imaginary meetings with him. A military officer posted in the area, a local gigolo, a taxi driver and a former lady member of the extremist group with whom her father was staying during his visit to the place all form part of her journey.
Drawing from local folklores and the history of violent sectarian politics of the North East, poetry and actuality, the film conjures up a magical reality, where reality gives way to the surreal, bloodshed to the poetry, memory to the imaginary, and vice versa.
Niharika Singh and Barun Chanda are apt as father and daughter, ably supported by actors from the Khasi film industry. The cinematography by Rama Dasgupta provides a visual treat, especially bringing alive the mist-covered hilly terrain of Cherrapunjee. Music by Gaurab Chatterjee fits the bill. However, the film belongs to the director Bappaditya Bandopadhyay, who handles the subject with warmth and care, raising it several notches above the everyday mundane productions. It is really unfortunate that this talented filmmaker recently passed away while shooting for the prequel to ‘Sohra Bridge’ in Cherrapunjee.
A must see film for followers of good cinema, ‘Sohra Bridge’ transcends the boundaries of language and lets visuals and emotions speak.

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