Life Goes On (2010) - Sharmila Tagore Soha Ali Khan Girish Karnad Om Puri - Promo-Preview-Review-Trailer

Life Goes On Indian Bollywood Hindi MovieStormglass Productions UK has launched its first feature film entitled LIFE GOES ON. An English language family drama, the film centres on the experiences of the Indian diaspora in Britain. The production showcases an exciting ensemble cast including a galaxy of Indian talent- Om Puri, Sharmila Tagore, Girish Karnad and Bollywood star Soha Ali Khan.

Written and directed by Sangeeta Datta, the film is a freewheeling adaptation of the King Lear fable, a gripping emotional drama of generational conflict set in contemporary London. The British cast includes Rez Kempton, Misha Crosby, newcomer Neerja Naik, Mukulika Banerjee, Stef Patten and Chris Hatherall. Intensive auditions and actors workshops were held in March-April before filming commenced on 8 May.

The intensive four week UK schedule from May to June 2OO9, wrapped a day before planned. The 4O member unit was mainly based in an independent mansion in Iver Heath, Bucks. Locations were spread across central London (Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Camden Town, Victoria) and key sequences filmed in Hamsptead Heath, Southgate and Hendon. SG Films UK, handled the line and executive production.

LIFE GOES ON has generated considerable media interest in Britain and India. DOP Robert Shacklady has created stunning visuals on the RED camera. For many in the British unit, it was a first time experience with a multicultural story and a star spangled Indian cast. The unit consisted of many young film and media students, runners and observers who all claim it has been a great learning experience for them.

Legendary Bollywood script writer and song writer Javed Akhtar is script consultant and lyricist of LIFE GOES ON. For the first time in film music history, Tagore songs have been translated in Hindi to the original tunes written by Rabindranath Tagore. Javed Akhtar has also written the lyrics for an original composition by Soumik Datta. Javed Akhtar is known for his collaboration with A.R. Rahman and Shankar Mahadevan. Soumik is the youngest composer with whom he has worked.

The music of LIFE GOES ON is creating an amazing buzz as it reflects the soundscape of contemporary London. Young composer Soumik Datta has drawn from classical orchestra, jazz and blues, Bangla folk, Turkish strains, French rap, to classical poetry of Tagore and Rumi to create a rich and vibrant soundtrack. Soumik has been hailed as a child prodigy as a solo classical Indian musician. He is a core memer of  the amazingly popular jazz band SAMAY whose first CD has been sold out in a few months. Soumik is learning composition at Trinity College of Music.


A short schedule is planned in India in which the partition era and communal violence will be reconstructed. LIFE GOES ON will be travelling the international festival circuit before a commercial release. “The Lear parable is relevant in any age, in any part of the world. My protagonist learns to rid himself of prejudice and move ahead in life. Its this process of self examination which is needed today. And the belief that love transcends all barriers. It’s a small, independent film which has an international appeal. The festival route is the most suitable way forward” says writer-director Sangeeta Datta.

synopsis

The drama explores the relations between a grief stricken father and his three daughters.  Set in London, the time is now, the family of Indian origin. 

With his wife’s sudden death, Sanjay is suddenly thrown into close proximity with his three daughters.  The drama unfolds over six days from the day when Manju dies to day of the funeral.  Haunted by memories, grappling with this devastating loss, missing the mediating influence of his wife, Sanjay finds himself assessing and carving out new relations with his three daughters. He is faced with a further crisis when he discovers his youngest and most loved daughter Dia, has a Muslim boyfriend -Imtiaz. Confused and angry, Sanjay leaves home and wanders the streets of London one night.  With an unexpected series of events, Sanjay is forced to face his past demons, his trauma over the partition when as a child, he was forced to leave his home with his parents. Finally to come to terms with his old and unspoken prejudice about Muslims, in the larger context of the country in the grips of Islamaphobia as the events of 7/7 and the consequences of the Iraq war reverberate.

As he sits drenched and tired on a bench on Hampstead Heath and watches the sun rise – Sanjay puts his demons to rest. At the funeral he has come to terms with himself, he allows the Muslim boy to join the family rituals and sees his daughters for what they are and not what he expected them to be.

The shadow of Shakespeare’s King Lear bears on this contemporary and free adaptation. It works functionally as a sub- text in the film as we see Sanjay and Dia within the contours of the mythical Lear and Cordelia.

The drama explores the relations between a grief stricken father and his three daughters. Set in London, the time is now, the family of Indian origin- part of the UK diaspora. With his wife’s sudden death, Sanjay is suddenly thrown into close proximity with his three daughters. The drama unfolds over five days from the day when Manju dies to day of the funeral. Haunted by memories, grappling with this devastating loss, missing the mediating influence of his wife, Sanjay finds himself assessing and carving out new relations with his three daughters. He is faced with a further crisis when he discovers his youngest and most loved daughter Dia, has a Muslim boyfriend -Imtiaz. Confused and angry, Sanjay leaves home and wanders the streets of London one night. With an unexpected series of events, Sanjay is forced to face his past demons, his trauma over the partition of India when as a child, he was forced to leave his home with his parents. Finally to come to terms with his old and unspoken prejudice about Muslims, in the larger context of the country in the grips of Islamaphobia as the events of 7/7 and the consequences of the Iraq war reverberate. As he sits drenched and tired on a bench on Hampstead Heath and watches the sun rise – Sanjay puts his demons to rest. At the funeral he has come to terms with himself, he allows the Muslim boy to join the family rituals and sees his daughters for what they are and not what he expected them to be. The shadow of Shakespeare’s King Lear bears on this contemporary and free adaptation. It works functionally as a sub- text in the film as we see Sanjay and Dia within the contours of the mythical Lear and Cordelia.

Director’s Note
Life Goes On is inspired by the old tale of King Lear and his daughters. It is trying to find meaning for Shakespeare’s King Lear in a contemporary multicultural British context. The Iraq war, rising terrorism and global violence, and resultant Islam phobia in the West have all led me to urgently tell a story of overcoming prejudice and fear.

As an Indian migrant I am also aware of the prejudice between Hindus and Muslims since the 1947 India partition days and memories of violence and terror, which are tough to dismiss. I find a connection between such past and prejudices and how people view the present world through fixed lenses, interpreting the present through past filters.

My protagonist Sanjay Banerjee is such a man, struggling to come to terms with his wife’s sudden death, he is forced to forge new relationships with his three daughters. The youngest that he loves the most is pregnant by her Muslim boyfriend. This discovery puts to test the views and values of an older man arrogant about his wealth and status. It forces him to face the past- the traumatic memory of communal riots during the partition of India when, as a child, he saw friends turn into enemies. He learns to put this behind him and his dead wife’s compassion and humanism help him to embrace life in the present, to love his daughters for what they are and finally to include the Muslim boy in his family space for the funeral in the final scene. If Sanjay is the archetypal Lear then his friend Alok is the philosophical fool who laughs and jokes but says profound truths. Sanjay Banerjee and his daughters have to deal with Manju’s sudden death and prepare for the funeral. The micro story of a family brought together by the mother’s loss is placed in the macro world of global war, terrorism, sports and music. In fact the music reflects the culturescape of a diverse city like London. It is a story about overcoming grief and prejudice by embracing life. It is a layered story about generational conflict where we enter many lives from many cultures and know them better.

Inspired by the popular song “Life Goes on and this whole world will keep on turning….” News events filter through television, computers and radio. The scope for fresh images of looking at London through a fresh lens, mediated by TV images, radio news, home videos, the dead mother’s music offers a complex and layered narrative for me. The realist films of Satyajit Ray, Ken Loach. Mike Leigh and the melodramatic appeal of Ritwik Ghatak – the romance of Bollywood films- the fresh look at the city by younger filmmakers (Brick Lane, Kidulthood) – are all inspirational texts for me. Film texts inspirations for this moving yet sharply relevant family drama: King Lear; Secrets and Lies; The Valley of Elah; My Son’s Room; Earth; Four Months, Three Weeks, Four Days; My Son the Fanatic; Utsav (The Festival) India; The Middleman (India).

Dr. Sanjay Banerjee, played by Girish, is an Indian doctor who has been living in London for 40 years. He is a prominent member of the community, an amateur theatre practitioner and has received several professional awards. He is 68, somewhat concerned about his erratic blood pressure and completely dependent on his wife on all domestic issues.

Manju, played by Sharmila Tagore, is Sanjay’s wife. She works as a librarian and a singer. She trains young children in
Indian music in her spare time.

The Banerjee’s have three daughters. Lolita, played by Mukulika is the eldest. She is married to John, a British investment
banker. She has her hands full with a 3 year old daughter and a six month old baby.

The second Tulika, played by Neerja, is a TV news presenter. She lives in Birmingham
and has not been home for a few months.

Dia, played by Soha, the youngest, lives at home, is a university student
and passionate about theatre.

Sanjay Banerjee has a close friend Alok, played by Om Puri, who is close to the family. His access to the house and its inmates is unrestricted.

Imtiaz, played by Rez, a young muslim doctor, is Dia’s boy friend.

John, played by Christopher, is Lolita’s husband who is presently torn between the credit crisis and the crisis at home

Maria, played by Steph, is Tuli’s girl friend and colleague

Main Cast
Sharmila Tagore
A diva who mesmerised audiences with her stunning looks and breath taking performances, Sharmila Tagore made her film debut with Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar, at the tender age of fourteen. She went on to star in Ray’s Devi and then featured in several other films directed by him. The most well known among these are Aranyer Dinraatri, Nayak and Sheemabodhho. Tagore established herself in the Bombay film industry with her memorable performance in Kashmir ki Kali.
Her onscreen chemistry with Rajesh Khanna drew several box office hits like Amar Prem and Aradhana, for which she won the Best Actress Award in 1969. Her performance in Sandip Ray’s Abar Aranye was critically acclaimed and it won her the National
Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2004.

Girish Karnad
Girish Karnad is a renaissance man. Well known playwright, novelist, actor and director he is winner of the highest literary award in India - the Jnanpith award. Known best for his plays like Hayavadana, Nagamandala, Tughlaq
(using Indian epics and myths) Karnad has been conferred the Padmabhushan civilian award in India. Part of the new cinema
movement he acted in the award winning Kannad film Samskara and collaborated with Shyam Benegal in Manthan. Others involve
Godhuli, Swami, Pukar and recently Iqbal. He has directed several Kannad films and acts regularly in Kannad films. Karnad was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University and a Fulbright scholar at the University of Chicago.

Om Puri
An honorary OBE receiver, Om Puri is an Indian actor with a wide variety of both mainstream as well as parallel films to his
credit. He is perhaps the only Indian actor with such extensive experience in the world film forum. East is East and The Parole Officer are two of his well known British films. Puri has also worked in Hollywood. His most memorable role is opposite Patrick Swayze in City of Joy. Puri has also worked for Satyajit Ray in a short film entitled Sadgati which also starred Smita Patil and Mohan Agashe. Puri has been equally brilliant in mainstream commercial cinema. Hera Pheri, Chachi 420, Singh is Kinng and the recent Billu Barber are some of his best known films. He has received two national awards for Best Actor for his performances in Arohan (1982) and Ardh Satya (1984)

Soha Ali Khan
Born into the illustrious nawab family of Pataudi, Soha made her acting debut in a Bollywood production titled Dil Maange More, which also starred Shahid Kapoor and Ayesha Takia. Her performance in Rituparno Ghosh’s Antarmahal won her a lot of critical acclaim. Soha is best remembered for her role in Om Prakash Mehra’s Rang De Basanti, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress award. Critics have also commended her performance in the film Khoya khoya Chand. Her recent films include Dil Kabaddi and Mumbai Meri Jaan. Soha is an Oxford University Graduate, followed by a Masters from LSE.

Rez Kempton
Popular Brit-Asian actor who has starred in the recent feature I Can’t Think Straight and the award winning short Adha Cup. Has several features to his credit Mystic Masseur, Brothers in Trouble, My Son the Fanatic and TV dramas Spooks, Desperados, Doctors, Roger Roger.

Neerja Naik
Young ingenue Neerja Naik graduated from Cambridge before training at Drama Centre London and has since featured in shorts Professional Woman of the Year - directed by Don Boyd, Maryam and Meetha Zehar.

Mukulika Banerjee
Mukulika is a professional anthropologist based at London School of Economics. She has a special interest in the theatre of
Samuel Beckett since her university days and has worked recently in stage productions in London and south of France directed
by Sangeeta Datta. This is her first film.

Steph Patten
Steph has been a passionate actor from her student days. Having performed Shakespeare at UCL she was really
noticed when playing Maya at Bloomsbury (theatre director Sangeeta Datta). Her recent theatre credits include The Scribe
Who Wouldn’t Scribble, The City Wive’s Confederacy, Love and the Gentle Heart.

Christopher Hatherall
Talented actor Chris has to his credit the features Super Telephoto and The Point of Regret. His shorts include Cosmonaut , Resistance, Back to Back. Chris features in TV drama Two Worlds of Douglas Foster and Agent X. In addition work for radio and stage.

Script and Direction Sangeeta Datta
Director of Photography Robert Shacklady
Editor Arghyakamal Mitra
Music Director Soumik Datta
Lyrics Rabindranath Tagore, Javed Akhtar, Fiona Bevan
Art & Production Designer Vipul Sangoi
Production Sound Mixer Simon Gillman
Sound Design & Mixing Biswadeep Chatterjee
Playback Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Pramita Mallick, Reena Bhardwaj
DOP (India) Avik Mukhopadhyay
Stylist Aindrila Ghosh
Make up and Hair Rosie Kor
Executive & Line Producer Gautami Trivedi & Sandeep Patel, SG Films
Produced by SD Films LLP
Production Company Stormglass Productions (UK & India)

Production Team
Sangeeta Datta is a well known writer-director, independent filmmaker and cultural commentator based in London.
She is director of two companies: BAITHAK promotes South Asian arts in the UK and aims to bring an understanding
of cultural heritage to Brit-Asian youth.

STORMGLASS PRODUCTIONS is dedicated to making meaningful cinema and theatre drawing from narratives which have an international appeal.

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