Film on professor Shonku largely shot in Brazil, says director

Filmmaker Sandip Ray on Wednesday said his latest outing, ‘Professor Shonku o El Dorado’ — based on the exploits of the fictional peripatetic scientist of the same name — has been extensively shot in the jungles of Amazon and Sao Paulo.

The sci-fi adventure film, with 8-9 Brazilian actors alongside the Indian cast, will be released in English and Bengali, the director said.

Shonku, a globe-trotting inventor, is a creation of the filmmaker’s father and auteur Satyajit Ray.

“We had to give the story a realistic portrayal on screen. A major part of the film was shot in Sao Paulo, Manaus and Amazon forests.

“Around 8-9 Brazilian actors, all from theatre and small-screen backgrounds, were roped in for the film. They got along well with the Indian cast,” the noted filmmaker stated.

The film has an international look and feel, quite like what “my father had imagined in his book”, he said.

“Shonku has a big fraternity of friends from abroad. We had to go by the sketches made by my father in his book to give shape to the characters. I am glad we could follow his vision, with certain modifications which was necessary to make a film,” Ray explained.

He recalled that Fernando Borges De, who plays the antagonist in the film, was “amazed” to find out that the film was being directed by the auteur’s son.

“Fernando wanted to know if there are more books on Professor Shonku after reading the script. We told him that its English translations are available on Amazon,” he said.

Asked the reason behind choosing Shonku’s El Dorado adventure for the film, the director said, “There is a typical Bengaliness to this fiction, despite Shonku’s exploits in Brazil. I wanted to keep that Bengal connect.”

About Dhritiman Chatterjee, who is playing the titular role, Ray said, “His erudition, command over several foreign languages and his acceptance among the audience across the globe makes him the best fit for the character.”

‘Professor Shonku o El Dorado’ is set to hit the theatres on December 20.