Starring: Dipanwit Dashmohapatra, Swastik Choudhury, Radha Krushna, Priyanka Ghosh Roy
Director: Amartya Bhattacharyya
Marking the fourth anniversary of the fateful cyclone 'Fani' causing havoc on the coastal villages in Odisha, National Award-winning Director Amartya Bhattacharya's sombre and soulful film 'Whispers of a Storm' premiered globally at the UK Asian Film Festival this week at the Stratford Picturehouse, London.
The film captures the devastating impact of Cyclone Fani on the coastal villages of Odisha in 2019 in the form of fragmented narratives of some unrelated characters and minimal dialogues. Director Bhattacharya takes us on a journey through the lives of those affected by the storm, revealing the true extent of the damage and the struggle to rebuild.
The film opens with a fame-hungry photographer (Choudhury) walking through the devastated parts of a village. He gets uncomfortably close to the viewers as the news report of the recently struck 'Fani' plays on in the backdrop. As we delve deeper into the story, we meet the people who have been left to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.
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The villager who comes back home from the rescue camp (Dashmohapatra) frantically collects anything and everything to fill his bag of memories with whatever is left so he never has to part from them again. The young devotee, Daya (Krushna), appeared shocked and heartbroken, witnessing the destructive hands of the Almighty and attempting in vain to rationalise the whims of God. The lady who lost her only son in the cyclone (Ghosh Roy) leaves her village and seeks solace in nature, portraying a sense of self-love and detachment.
Trauma hits everyone differently. Their stories of losses and pain are different, unrelated, and connected by nothing except the fateful tragedy.
Bhattacharya has communicated much more with each carefully crafted artistic shot in this film than dialogues could have delivered, akin to human sufferings caused by natural calamities - inexplicable in words. He could bring out the heart-breaking pathos of human sufferings and resilience through his characters. And it was delightful to revisit Bhattacharya's signature absurdism of 'Adieu Godard' in this film, particularly in the window fiasco.
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The film's cinematography is exceptional, with beautiful shots of the landscape and the people. The use of natural sound and music enhances the story's emotional impact, making it a truly immersive experience.
The film also serves as a poignant reminder of the impact of climate change and the urgent need for action to mitigate its effects. It is a powerful call to action for world leaders and individuals to work towards a sustainable future and protect vulnerable communities from the impact of climate change.
*Info: UK Asian Film Festival