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Director's Note

Every journey has a beginning. Mahananda is no different. And this journey began with a packet. Yes a packet that Gargee (Roy Chowdhury) handed me. It was from Mr Asoke Dasgupta who had scribbled a few pointers and stated that a film should be made on the life and times of Mahashweta Devi. I was quite surprised that he had chosen to give me this task for I only made thrillers and detective movies. But he felt I could do justice to his thoughts, which is a humbling complement, and talk about her life.

When I sat and thought about it, I realised that no matter what film I made I talked about life. About humanity. And maybe somewhere in my heart I wanted to do a movie about humanity. Mahashweta Devi is just not an author or a character from the fiction called life because she has seen the rise and fall of it. I think she has been forgotten and swept aside by us Bengalis, yet she should have been in the forefront of our consciousness.

We have chosen to forget her because she worked in the back of the beyond among the santhals and never compromised with her work or ran after limelight. Our film is about a movement called Mahashweta Devi. Today when we talk about gender equality or woman empowerment we forget that she talked about it long long back. She talked about the santhals women.

When she had raised her voice that India's history of Independence needed to be looked into she was talking about the santhals and their contribution. This is one of the reasons she is so important for us today. Today we need to talk about her political philosophy, her work, her uncompromising ethics. We need this film today.

We feel her contribution to our mainstream has eternal value and hence this movie is not about the life or death of someone, it is about an author Mahananda whose character has similarities with the life and persona of Mahashweta Devi. And another person from a very different background and upbringing becomes interested in Mahananda. She is young vibrant Mahalaya. She slowly evolves in presence and under the influence of Mahananda. It's the blossoming of a philosophy that can save mankind.

Mahananda is the story of this passing on of the torch. The torch bearers from different ages who carry forward the concept, the movement named Mahashweta. It is a story of giving direction to our lives in this time of social political unrest.

---Arindam Sil

Producer's Note

Friends Communication has been doing movies with a social message. We believe movies have the capacity to inform influence while entertaining. While we don't want to be preachy, we believe in bringing to the people stories robust with a philosophy of its own. And Mahananda is an effort on the same lines. Mahasweta Devi is not just an author or a social activist. She was much ahead of her times. She is like a milestone in our social consciousness that we need to reach touch and imbibe. We are happy to be producting this movie.

Firdausul Hasan