Multifaceted Indian artist Shomshuklla, who has achieved success in the theater scene with her play We Draupadis and Sitas, as well as with her music and poetry, has now turned her passion for storytelling into the cinematic landscape with her debut feature Sandcastle.
Centered on two female characters, the film is evidence of the new currents in Indian cinema that are opening up to creators beyond the Bollywood aesthetic. The protagonist of the story is Sheila, played by Shahana Chatterjee, an upper-middle class woman whose expectations of a perfect life haven’t been fulfilled. Sheila is a homemaker, an aspiring writer, and loving mother. In the eyes of the world her existence is fairytale-like, she belongs to the exclusive middle-class elite and has a wealthy advertizing executive for a husband. Yet, she wants to have success of her own and find her identity beyond that of a traditional devoted wife. Of course, such dream seems like an incredible feat in the context of Indian society.
Shomshuklla attempts to challenge the myth of the ideal life with her story. She understands that even when a state of apparent perfection is reached there is always something more to be had, something more to pursue. What might seem like a fulfillment for some can be total emptiness for others, a fact that renders “perfection” as an obsolete term. Focused on the challenges women must face in contemporary India, the artist’s film exposes the conflicting worlds of fateful acceptance and the search for an individual voice.
Sandcastle has been nominated in the Best Foreign Language Feature Film category at the London International Film Festival (LIFF) 2013 and received four nominations at the Tenerife International Film Festival 2013, including nods for Best Feature Film, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Cinematography.
The London International Film Festival runs from 12th-18th October in Ealing, London