III Smoking Barrels shows at the Durban Playhouse theatre at 9pm tonight.

Sanjib Dey’s debut film III Smoking Barrels will be showing at the Durban Playhouse tonight (July 21).

The film, an anthology of three stories from North East India is inspired by true events and is a narrative is multi-lingual - six to be exact.

Filmed over a period of two years across various locations in the Northeast, the film has an ensemble cast featuring the likes of Indraneil Sengupta (Kahaani, Satyagraha, 1920), Subrat Dutta (Talaash, Tevar, Bhoothnath Returns), Nalneesh Neel (Raees, Shuddh Desi Romance, Veerappan), Amrita Chattopadhyay (Anwar Ka Ajab Kissa, Janla Diye Bou Palalo), Mandakini Goswami (Bandit Queen, The Warrior), and Bijou Thaangjam (Mary Kom, Shivaay).


We caught up with director, Sanjib Dey, to find out more about this enchanting tale exploring different stages in a human’s life.

Tell us briefly what the film is about?

My film largely deals with elephants and I’m glad that it's showing in Africa- the land of elephants. It’s a multi-lingual feature film set in far east Indian. Its an anthology of three stories inspired by true events from the region, reflecting the three stages of life - childhood, boyhood and manhood. Quiet like the three stages of a screenplay- the beginning, the middle and the end.


Why did you want to make this specific movie?

I grew up in a small town called Golaghat in far east India before I moved to our cinema capital Mumbai. I realised that never before a film was made wholesomely dedicated to this diversified region of eight provinces which is a bit isolated from mainland India for various socio-political reasons. Hence the idea was born to make a film which my producer Amit Malpani supported me wholeheartedly.


III Smoking Barrels is a combination of three stories. How did you tie together the three in order to create a one movie?

The three stories are thematically woven together although each of them are very independent in nature. All these three stories are set in one region that is far east India officially known as North East India. That's the main thread! The film starts with a story of a child, progresses into a story of a boy and ends with story of a man. Thus taking you through the complete journey of the three stages of our life.


Tell us about the two year journey filming across various locations in the North east India?

It was a difficult journey. That’s what I can say. Rough terrains, wet climate, politically conflict zone and what not. But North East is a lovely part of India with lovely people all around which eventually made my job easier. I really thank my entire cast and crew who worked so hard to fulfill my vision. All credit goes to each and everyone of them and to the people of North East India.


Tell us about the film’s themes?

The main theme is definitely human relationships. But I parallely explored socio-political issues like children in armed conflict, drug abuse and trafficking and animal poaching.


How was it working with the cast?

Each of them were wonderful. The film has an ensemble cast of both seasoned and beginners. Subrat Dutta who is winner of best actor award at the Cairo International Film Festival 2009 played a very important role in the film. He was real fun to work with. Indraneil Sengupta , a popular Bollywood actor, was very disciplined and hardworking. I actually learned so much from each and every actor in the film.


What message do you want to portray to the film’s audience?

More than any message, I want audience to experience the land, the people and their stories. Nonetheless, the film takes firm stand against terrorism, drugs and animal poaching.


Why should audience watch this film?

Because it will be a new journey for them.


* The film will show at the Playhouse Theatre at 9pm tonight (July 21).