After making waves with his short films Meal (starring Adil Hussain) and Laali (with Pankaj Tripathi), Calcutta boy Abhiroop Basu is ready with his next. Abhiroop’s latest short is set against the backdrop of the Gujarat riots of 2002, and is intriguingly named Gudgudi. The short, which is about 18 minutes long, stars Rajshri Deshpande (Sacred Games, Sexy Durga), Akash Sinha (Gangs of Wasseypur, Photograph), Chetan Sharma (Pagglait, Meenakshi Sundareshwar) and Kuldeep Sareen (Saand Ki Aankh). The cast also comprises Shayeree Ghosh, Satakshi Nandy and Madhurima Tarafder. Gudgudi is an Indo-US production, the first look of which is being exclusively unveiled on t2.
“Gudgudi is a very unlikely name for a film based on the 2002 Gujarat riots. But that’s what the film is about. In the end, one gets why it’s called that. This is arguably the first fictional account of the riots in a very non-apologetic way,” Abhiroop, a South Point School and St. Xavier’s College alumnus, tells t2. “Most of the material made on the riots focus on the aftermath of the riots, like Parzania and Firaaq, but I don’t find them unapologetic in their approach,” says Abhiroop. Gudgudi is based on a real-life account of a survivor and how three women chose a particular way to survive when faced with rioters.
For Abhiroop, the catalyst for Gudgudi, in a way, was the unrest in Delhi that took place in early 2020. “I realised that every day our history is being rewritten. This film comes from the point that 30-40 years down the line, when our children ask about the Gujarat riots of 2002, we may not have anything to show them. That’s because our history is currently being changed and distorted. It’s important for future generations to know that something like this had happened,” says Abhiroop.
It took Abhiroop quite a bit of time and effort to put the short together, in terms of funding. “In these times, it’s difficult to find people who would want to back a contentious topic like this. Luckily, I got some really great producers in the form of Irfan Hydari and Asad Kirmani from the US and Kaveri Mehrotra from India,” says Abhiroop. Actor-activist Rajshri Deshpande heads the cast of the Hindi film that was shot in Calcutta.
The germ of Gudgudi came from some lesser-known stats that scores of women, irrespective of religion, were victims of violence during the riots. “It just shows that women actually have no religion, we just treat them as flesh,” says Abhiroop.