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Beware this Bengali Detective

December 07, 2010 16:55 IST

A scene from The Bengali Detective He is obsessed with love songs and dance but his private passions are also linked to his work as a private detective in Kolkata.

The story of Rajesh Bharti (Rajesh the boss) and his unpredictable but efficient band of sidekicks who set out to solve cases involving adultery, bride abuse and poisonings is now an feature film long documentary.

Called The Bengali Detective and directed by London-based Phil Cox, it will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival next month.

One of the taglines for the film: Intrigue, counterfeiting, love and deception -- this is India like you have never seen it before.

Cox, who has been making documentary films in the last 12 years through his Native Voice Films says the film is also about resourceful Indians who do not let official apathy keep them down.

Based in East London, Native Voice is, Cox notes ' a motley band of talented international filmmakers who are all committed to bicycles, bad haircuts, sunny beaches, and making award-winning films.'

Perhaps the best venue for independently made feature and documentary films from across the world, Sundance founded by the actor and film-maker Robert Redford 27 years ago has welcomed films such as the Hurt Locker which trounced the megabuck Avatar at the Oscars. The festival also welcomes off-the-beaten track studio movies such as Up in the Air and Hurt Locker.

The festival announced this week the line up of documentaries in its documentary competitions for the 27th annual festival, to be held from January 20 to 30, 2011 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. Included in the World Cinema line up is the world premiere of Project Nim, the latest film from James Marsh, who won the 2009 Academy Award for Best Documentary for Man on Wire.

A scene from The Bengali Detective The Oscar winning documentary Born into the Brothels won the audience award at Sundance in 2004. The short documentary Smile Pinki, which like Brothels and The Bengali Detective, is set in India was also acclaimed at Sundance two years ago.

Cox says the story of an overweight, dance obsessed, intrepid detective, mixes dance and hit songs with the harsh lives of clients and detective. It is, he asserts, 'an entertaining and poignant look into the hidden realities of modern India and British Indian Diasporas.'

In his director's statement, he adds: 'During recent trips to India I began to notice the rising boom of private detective agencies -- from billboards across the major cities to many Indian friends who've hired them. This raised a more universal question for me about where people turn to when they lose trust in the authorities, and the seed of a film emerged, one that would look at a society through the prism of crime, via the catalyst of a colourful detective.'

London-based Asif Kapadia whose The Warrior featuring Irrfan Khan made film festival waves in 2001 but little money at the box office has made the documentary Senna based on a screenplay by Manish Pandey.

Based on the story of the legendary Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna who died at age 34, Senna is making its North American premiere at the Sundance. It takes the viewers on the ultimate journey of what it means to become the greatest when faced with the constant possibility of death,' according to the film-maker..

Arthur J Pais in New York