Rickshawala, a Bengali short film, won the award for the Best Film Social Message at the Cardiff International Film Festival 2020.
Sharing the news on Twitter, the film’s director Ram Kamal Mukherjee wrote: “Received the coveted 22 carat gold plated trophy from Cardiff International Film Festival for our cinema #Rickshawala that won Best Film Social Message this year.”
The 'mask' that makes me happy!
Received the coveted 22 carat gold plated trophy from Cardiff International Film Festival for our cinema #Rickshawala that won Best Film Social Message this year.
Special thanks to Avinash Dwivedi who is rocking the festivals @CIFF_Official Jury. pic.twitter.com/3YTFpMThxR
— Ram Kamal । राम कमल (@Ramkamal) November 9, 2020
The film has also won Mukherjee the Best Director award at 13th Ayodhya International Film Festival and at the Cafe Irani Indo Iran Film Festival.
Produced by Aritra Das, Sarbani Mukherjee and Gaurav Daga under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures and SS1 Entertainments, Rickshawala (2019) is Mukherjee’s debut in Bengali cinema. The director’s other works include Hindi short films Cakewalk, Seasons Greetings and Broken Frame.
Along with Mukherjee, Rickshawala has been co-written by Gargi Mukhopadhyay and Saikat Das.
Modhura Palit, who was honoured with a special encouragement award during the Pierre Angénieux ExcelLens in Cinematography, is the cinematographer, while music is composed by Neerajan Krishanu.
The 50-minute film is based on the lives of hand-pulled rickshaw pullers based in Kolkata. Bhojpuri theatre actor Avinash Dwivedi plays the role of a rickshaw puller. While theatre actor Kasturi Chakraborty plays his love interest, debutant Sangita Sinha portrays a Bengali homemaker, who is trapped in an unhappy marriage. The film has incidents which the director has grown up witnessing as a child.
“Since I made my foray into direction people from Kolkata have been constantly asking me to make a Bengali film. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a story that would justify the language and the narrative. Finally, I wrote a story based on the rickshaw pullers. This particular hand pulley ricks are only seen in Kolkata, especially in certain pockets, their story intrigued me. I grew up in Amherst Street, and I have seen rickshawalas and their families. I feel that this is high time that we talk about them also. In Hindi cinema, or even in Bengali films we have barely seen them as central character,” Mukherjee said to the The Times of India.
Mukherjee is a film journalist, critic, author, and a filmmaker. He is best known for writing Hema Malini- A Diva Unveiled, a coffee-table book on veteran actor Hema Malini. He also has an upcoming Hindi short film Shubho Bijoya, that brings Gurmeet Choudhury and Debina Bonnerjee together on screen after 11 years.