Bengali Film Unit Stranded in Turkey


Kolkata: In the wake of an attempted army coup in Turkey, Indian Embassy in Ankara has advised Indians in Turkey to remain indoors until the situation becomes normal. Stranded amidst the chaos in Turkey is a Bengali film shooting unit.

Birsa Dasgupta and his unit has been shooting in Istanbul from Monday. Despite the June 28 attack at the Istanbul Atartuk airport, Dasgupta had begun shooting his as-yet-untitled film with Mimi Chakraborty and Yash Dasgupta. On Friday, Bengal’s IT minister Bratya Basu who is acting in the film joined the unit too. He was supposed to begin shooting on Saturday.

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However, the attempted army coup in Turkey came as a jolt to everyone associated with the film. Speaking to TOI, the film’s director said that everyone in the unit is safe. “The ground reality isn’t what the news is showing. Last night, both Indian and Turkish crew were all together. Few from our crew slept happily too,” Dasgupta said.

He was awake till 5 in the morning. “Now, I am trying to rest for a few hours before work. It is 7 am here now and 11 am is our call time. We will meet at 10 am and decide on things then,” Dasgupta said.

Meanwhile, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee called up Shrikant Mohta in the morning to check out the details. “Our honourable chief minister herself called me up to find the details. We are all trying to get in touch with the embassy so that the unit can return to Kolkata safe and soon. Every unit member is now in the hotel. I have spoken to Bratya too in the morning. He is safe,” Mohta said.

On Friday evening, Basu had spoken to TOI after reaching the Istanbul. “I play a don in the film. When I reached the Atartuk airport, it seemed fine. It is a busy airport. After the shooting is over, I will return on July 20 to Kolkata,” he had said.

However, Basu didn’t know that such a coup would happen hours after he landed. At least 25 days of shooting is left for the film. On Saturday morning, Mohta didn’t want to take any chances. “As a production house, we shoot in various countries. We could have been shooting in Nice too. We went to Turkey because we were assured that it’s safe there now. We will make sure that everyone returns to Kolkata safe,” he said.

The sudden coup has disrupted the plans. However, actor Gaurav Chakraborty assured his well-wishers that the situation is “better” on Saturday. On his Facebook wall, the actor posted: “Shoot in the time of revolution. In Turkey for Birsa Dasgupta’s next. Coup attempt by a section of the Turkish military last night. Things looking better today. For everyone asking, we are safe and sound. Shoot should resume soon.”

Meanwhile, Ravi Sharma from the unit had a narrow escape. “I had reached Turkey on July 7 and we had begun shooting in Istanbul from July 7. That included both song and talkie portion. On Friday afternoon, I took a flight from Istanbul to return to Kolkata,” Sharma said.