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How I Made It: Avijatrik (The Wanderlust of Apu) (2020)

Avijatrik (The Wanderlust of Apu), scripted and directed by Subhrajit Mitra is the sequel to the classic “Apu Trilogy”, directed by the legendary Satyajit Ray. The plot takes off from where “The Apu Trilogy” had ended in 1959 with “Apur Sansar”. The film focuses on Apu’s overwhelming desire to explore the world outside, instead of his inner journey and self-growth – as portrayed in the earlier trilogy. Avijatrik is essentially the story of a journey depicting Apu’s ardor to be a globetrotter, to experience the outside world, and immerse himself in myriad layers of life.

The story revolves around a sublime bond between a father (Apu) and his 6-year-old son (Kajol) – wherein both are dependent on each other – heaping lavish affection and love for each other. The film has explored a beautiful tapestry of pure interpersonal relationships to recreate magic of Apu– sharing adventures with his beloved son, Kajol.

This film is about the rich cultural history of India in every aspect. The glorious heritage of our unity in diversity, be it in religion, philosophy, way of living life, art, music, and history. This film is about India. This film is about the journey outside, as well as a journey within.

136mins | Bengali | Drama, Classic Literature | 2020 | India

In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, the Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of the Directors of the film - Subhrajit Mitra

Why this subject matter for your film?

I have read the classic novel "Aparajito” by the master author Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay many a time when I was young. As a film enthusiast, I have watched “ The Apu trilogy” by the master Satyajit Roy as well, during my formative years, I guess I have lost the count. Those were like grammar in film language. But as an ardent fan of classic literature, it has always intrigued me what happened next after Apu became ‘friend’ to his little son Kajol. It is written vividly in the book itself but not picturized in the film, maybe a fourth part of Apu’s journey with his son. “Apur Sansar (The world of Apu)", the last part of the trilogy was released in 1959.

Satyajit Ray did not want to continue filming further with Apu’s life as he said many times in his interviews at that point of time, but no other director also came forward and completed the journey as per the novel, in these six decades. Maybe because of the huge huge legacy, this story and the films carry with it. But I love challenges and being a dreamer I have always explored beyond my comfort zone, much like “Apu”, not getting intimidated by anything and I wanted to tell this story on the big screen and complete the journey of Apu. So I took my own time and prepared and grew myself as a filmmaker accordingly over the years (I have made several big international and national documentary projects and 6 feature films in between though) so that I can justify myself on my choice of embarking on this journey and prove myself worthy of the legacy. This sequel will be my homage to the everlasting legacy of the masters and the rich cultural heritage of my motherland.

What were the major challenges you faced during the preparation of the film and how did you overcome those challenges? The first and foremost challenge was to write a script that interprets the literature (the concluding portion of the novel) to the big screen keeping the original essence of both the novel and the film trilogy intact so that it will look and feel like the continuation and sequel. But this film should stand its ground on its own also, so that if an audience who is not familiar with the novel or the trilogy should not feel left out and enjoy the experience of the movie as well. I knew every single aspect of this movie will be heavily scrutinized by the audience, by the critics. So I gave utmost importance to my research and understanding of the finer nuances of the novel and the trilogy on every single little detail before writing the screenplay.

Rest, it is a very intuitive process. It comes with the experience and maturity, exposure to the world of classic art forms, be it literature, music, painting, photography, dance, cinema, both eastern and western. I am immensely grateful to the critics and th