‘Will never forget the admiration from Daulatdia’s women’: Runa Khan

DailyStar || Shining BD

Published: 4/21/2024 10:58:17 AM

Artistes often go to great lengths to authentically portray their characters, and in that aspect, the dedication of National Film Award-winning actress Runa Khan stands out prominently. For her latest film, "Neel Padma" (The Blue Lotus), Runa delved deep into the heart of Rajbari's Daulatdia, one of the largest brothels in the subcontinent, to bring her character to life. 

Unlike a typical shooting schedule, she spent three immersive days on location, far exceeding the initial plan of a single day.

Directed by the esteemed filmmaker Towfique Elahi, "Neel Padma" intricately explores the lives of sex workers, drawing heavily on Elahi's extensive two-year research on the area's unique challenges, societal stigmas, and the rights of its residents. 

Elahi's commitment to authenticity didn't stop at research; he also penned the story, screenplay, and dialogues, ensuring a cohesive and accurate representation of this often misunderstood community.

The film, which also features performances by Rokeya Prachy, Shahed Ali, and Sujat Shimul, is poised for its grand world premiere at the prestigious Suchitra Sen International Bengali Film Festival 2024 in the USA today (April 21). 

This selection is particularly notable as "Neel Padma" was chosen from amongst 438 Bengali films from Kolkata and Bangladesh, securing its place as one of only 37 films featured at the festival.

Runa Khan, reflecting on her role, emphasised the woman-centric narrative of the film. "Every artiste aspires to leave a lasting impact on the audience, and I poured my heart and soul into this role to make that happen," Runa stated. 

Her excitement about the international premiere was palpable, as she added, "I am thrilled that 'Neel Padma' is making its debut on such a significant global stage. It's an honour to bring our story to an international audience."

The film's narrative focuses on the personal stories, struggles for social identity, and the quest for human rights amongst the women of Daulatdia. Runa Khan's experience on set was profoundly moving; she shared how the women of the brothel embraced her with overwhelming love and openness, eagerly sharing their personal stories and forming bonds that she cherishes deeply. 

"The warmth and affection I received from them were extraordinary. Their willingness to open up about their lives with me enriched my portrayal and made my experience unforgettable," Khan reminisced.

"I will never forget the love and admiration they showed me," she added.

Following its international premiere, "Neel Padma" will continue to be showcased at several more film festivals worldwide, after which plans for a domestic release will be finalised. The anticipation surrounding its release speaks volumes about the potential impact of this powerful film on audiences both at home and abroad.

Shining BD