Indrasis Acharya's Parcel (2019) is a multi-layered social story under a health system backdrop where nothing comes as explicit but a fear psychosis based on anticipation jeopardizes everything and tears apart a strong bonding of relationship.
Parcel's story revolves around a doctor couple. Nandini, the female protagonist suddenly starts receiving some unanimous mysterious parcels with some of her older and recent photographs. This process creates turbulence in their family and they go on the verge of terminating their marriage. Nandini tries to find out the root cause anticipating some blackmailing purpose in association with her past wrongdoings.
In this world of vigilance, how things change for everyone is the main crux of the film. The film kindles intrigue and thrill, with the subject being relevant in today’s scenario.
123 Mins | Bengali | Drama, Documental, Fiction, Social | 2019 | India
In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, the Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of the Director of the film - Indrasis Acharya
Why this subject matter for your film?
Under the current socio-political scenario, The Parcel depicts a picture of different classes of people under the backdrop of Indian (Bengal) health industry and their modus operandi on normal citizens. In addition to this, vigilance has become a part of our life, we all are exposed, threatened and compromised with our privacy. But the fun is where the right to information act is required it is not present because you are not in the hierarchy to be considered. When a patient dies, they hardly understand the backstory behind the case rather they are left with no option but to trust, and when trust is questioned we accept and compromise with our lives hard-earned money.
Besides the normal parcel story that would appear at the surface level in the film, it also deals with intelligence hierarchy when people of different professions exploit the grade, education, naivety of the larger population by using power, knowledge for greed. In the long run something would definitely evolve in process of evolution to make them fall in the ditch. Here in the film Parcel, two health care professionals under unavoidable circumstances are forced to exploit people but they are also not spared with the modern or postmodern civilization technologies which also appeared as threats to them. In this world of distrust, nobody is safe as far as you accept all the benefits of our modern civilization. Your own device or modern technology might appear as a curse in your life.
The film deals with an open-ended script like many things remain open or unknown similar to modern-day trends but creates a fear psychosis. We react to so many things without having any innuendo of the fact, we just react either by knowing nothing or by knowing just a part of it. Here in the film we see the reaction of the characters without much hints to us what exactly has happened or what actually happened (the way we receive things partially). As an audience we will experience the result only as that is the only thing, we get impacted. The inside story remains insignificant once it is done. The Parcel also deals with the way we are living in a stale, corrupted system of negligence and how our life has become miserable. It has tried to portray different layers in a unique storytelling type, in a form of a psychological thriller with fear psychosis.
We all are a little broken, damaged, flawed, and screwed up. That's what makes us real nowadays.
Where did you find this story for this film?
The story came to my mind when my son received a gift without any name on it on his birthday. I thought of developing a story on this. Also, Michael Haneke’s Cache has an influence but there are absolutely no similarities in the storylines except the anonymous gift part.
What were the challenges you faced in making the film?
We, the independent filmmakers always suffer for the budget. Moreover, the rules that have been set up here for shooting make our life miserable by forcing us to take a fixed number of crew members irrespective of our requirement. We have to craft, manage and design our set according to the shoestring budget that we are told to. As a director, your job is not confined in direction only, rather we have to take responsibility for all production-related issues from props to artist management. But I must congratulate two of my producers Mrs. Rituparna Sengupta and Mr.Krishna Kyal for showing the courage of making this film. It also boosts confidence as a filmmaker in me that you can do whatever you want if you are a skilled craftsman.
Did you face any problems in releasing the film?
Unlike my other two films Bilu Rakkhosh (Was on Netflix for 3 years) and PUPA (on Amazon Prime), I got extremely good support from my producers and marketing this time. It was released in more than 35 halls and marketing was extremely penetrative. Unfortunately, Covid did the final damage as it was released on March 13th but had to be taken down just after 4 days due to the lockdown.
What was your background before making your first film?
I work as an Associate Director in one of the major international consulting firms in the world. Till date, I am doing that besides filmmaking. It not only helps to choose my films wisely but also helps my management skill to run the project from initiation to closing with ease.
How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution? Filmmaking is creative till you conceptualize and develop the entire idea with location, props, environment with characters. But once done, it is strategic and needs managerial skill for execution. The artistic part takes a back seat for independent filmmakers like us. You need to make a proper plan as per your budget because one wrong step may put you down into jeopardy. Risk assessment, proper control and monitoring are the key part of making a film within a fixed budget. I believe there are financers and producers who look forward to work on good projects and with proper cinematic languages not only for business purposes. We need to approach them with our work more but the challenge is we cant reach out much for having low visibility in the world cinema market. Otherwise, I strongly believe there are many filmmakers around us who can do havoc in the field of world cinemas but hardly they get opportunities to show their talents. All wait for opportunities in spite of spending days with lot of struggles. Out of many few get the opportunities and excel. Perception is an interesting aspect, if you can create for your film or yourself half battle is won. But there are certain ways to achieve these. Not many get success in spite of having the skills of being a world-class filmmaker.
Any other interesting facts about this film that you may like to cover.
It won the Best Indian Director award from the Kolkata International Film Festival and within a week, it traveled to Jogja Netpac Festival, Indonesia to represent 100 years of Bengali cinema. Unfortunately, Diorama was postponed, and finally it won the Best film Audience award from the festival so it would have created a hattrick in a month had it happened as per the schedule.
It went to the Melbourne Indian Festival, Dhaka International Film Festival, and will travel to New York as well. This is a film with non-explicit treatment, you will get the reaction only without much action. I believe had I been developed a perception it would have been treated in a different way. Although it got rave reviews from very eminent critics around the world who have watched my earlier films as well for having my signature and style intact in this film as well.
About the Director
Indrasis Acharya is an Indian film director working in the Bengali cinema. He came to prominence after directing his first feature film, ‘Bilu Rakkhosh’ which won acclaim in both national and international spheres. has done his B.Tech in Instrumentation and Electronics from Jadavpur University after getting an honors degree in Physics from Calcutta University. Currently, he is working in a renowned consulting MNC firm.
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