I learnt the art I am pursuing in Bengaluru: Director Victor Mukherjee

Being an animal lover himself, the subject is close to Mukherjee’s heart. “I don’t believe in God, but I believe in doing good.

Published: 10th January 2023 06:39 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th January 2023 06:39 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Growing up, filmmaker Victor Mukherjee was surrounded by pets, and taking care of them was part of his routine. Now, the filmmaker pays homage to all the animals who have been associated with him over the years with his latest movie Lakadbaggha, which is hitting the theatres on Jan 13. The movie is about animal-loving vigilante Arjun Bakshi, who gets to know about the underground illegal animal trade functions from the Kolkata port.

Being an animal lover himself, the subject is close to Mukherjee’s heart. “I don’t believe in God, but I believe in doing good. So I believe animals are the best things that we have and this is a way to give back to them,” explains Mukherjee.

For the portrayal of the lead character Arjun Bakshi, Mukherjee didn’t look too far for inspiration, since he found much similarity between himself and Arjun. “When I was a kid, a dog saved my life. My parents’ place in Kolkata is huge and we used to have a lot of pets around and would take care of them. In Mumbai, I used to foster a dog and one day, his head was trapped in a plastic bottle. We went through a lot of trouble to get him free. We see cruelty in animals all across the country. The world needs to be kind towards creatures who can’t speak for themselves,” says Mukherjee.

It’s interesting that Mukherjee picked Lakadbhagga, which translates to hyena, as the title of the film. He reveals that it is a metaphor for Jha’s character in addition to there being a hyena in the film. “While I was writing the story on Aug 13, 2021, there was news of a rare-striped hyena escaping Jim Corbett National Park and we thought we would put that reference in the movie so that it gets close to reality,” says Mukherjee, adding that when he was a kid, he watched The Lion King and has since been intrigued by hyenas.

Mukherjee grew up in Kolkata, which also happens to be the city the film is set in. But the filmmaker calls it a coincidence. “We were actually looking for a real-life incident. In 2018, there was this incident during Durga Pujo, where some restaurants started using dog meat instead of mutton. So we tried to incorporate that incident, which is why Kolkata became an important place for the story. It could have been any other city, but that particular incident helped me pick Kolkata as the city,” says Mukherjee, adding that they were also looking for a port city.

The movie will face Kuttey, directed by Aasmaan Bhardwaj, son of director Vishal Bhardwaj at the box office on Jan. 13. “Kuttey is Vishal ji’s son’s first movie and we want to wish him all the best. We definitely don’t want to come in as competition. It is a coincidence that my film is also releasing just before the release of Pathaan. But Jan 13 was the only date available,” he says.

Having studied in Bengaluru, Mukherjee, a regular visitor to the city, calls Bengaluru home. “I grew up in Kolkata, but I learnt the art I am pursuing in Bengaluru at COMMITS,” the filmmaker signs off.

Filmmaker Victor Mukherjee’s latest movie, Lakadbaggha, which translates into hyena, deals with the controversial topic of illegal meat trade. Mukherjee, who studied in the city, speaks about the movie, the idea behind it and its clash with the release of Kuttey, directed by Aasmaan Bhardwaj, son of director Vishal Bhardwaj


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