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The iconic Paradise Cinema has been a cherished part of Kolkata's cine history. Nirmal De’s Sare Chuattor marked its first Bengali screening in 1953, amidst a legacy primarily dedicated to Hindi films. From the triple-layered curtains covering its single screen to the chilled air from the running ACs wafting through its doors during intervals, each detail of Paradise’s majestic allure is still ingrained in the fond memories of its patrons. One such patron is Junaid Ahmed. BFA joins this Dharmatala resident as he recollects his days of being a witness to paradise on earth in this Bijoy Chowdhury film


Why BFA commissioned this film?

Paradise struggled hard to retain its identity against the rising popularity of Kolkata multiplexes but business dwindled since 2014-15. The last straw was the pandemic and all its operations came to a close in March, 2021. Yet BFA believes that whatever is remembered continues to live on. So does Paradise. And who better to preserve it for posterity than Bijoy Chowdhury and Korak Misra? This film bears testimony to how a single-screen theatre like Paradise became synonymous with poet Amir Khusrau's unforgettable lines: ‘Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast/Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o hameen ast (If there is a paradise on earth/It is this, it is this, it is this)’

About The Director:
He left a promising career in various advertising agencies and quit his job as the art director of RK Swamy BBDO Pvt. Ltd.’s Kolkata branch. The reason was his strong desire to follow his heart. Romancing ruins is his passion. Zooming in on forgotten legacies remains his hobby. Meet Bijoy Chowdhury who graduated from the Government College of Art and Craft in 1987 and is now working as a visual communicator and photographer. Chowdhury has several national and international awards including the Commonwealth and National Geographic Traveler Photo Award. The prestigious Private magazine has also published his works twice over. International Gallerie has also published his black-and-white photo-features. In 2000, the government of India has also awarded him with the Senior National Fellowship in photography.

Alongside his regular assignments, Chowdhury continues to work on several long-term documentary film projects of socio-economic interest. Khawto (The Wound), his debut documentary, has been screened at more than 15 festivals around the globe ever since he made it in 2017. It was selected at the 12th Istanbul International Architecture and Urban Films Festival. It received the Best Documentary Film Festival in Bangladesh’s Sylhet, the special jury mention at Spain’s FICARQ 2018 and the Best Documentary Film award at the 6th Siliguri Short and Documentary Film Festival. 

His Undivided Solitude won two awards – FUR Gold Lotus for best film and FUR Gold Lotus for best director - at the PSBT Film Challenge 2020-21. The competition was supported by PSBT in partnership with the Foundation for Universal Responsibility of His Holiness, Dalai Lama. It was selected as part of the short films section at the 3rd edition of the Habitat International Film Festival, New Delhi and won the best short film competition of Anandalok Short-cut.

In 2022, Chowdhury directed My Son and His Grandfather that focused on the empty-nest syndrome of grandparents. Critically acclaimed musician Tajdar Junaid came on board to compose its background score. The film received the Best Short Documentary award at the 14th International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala (IDSFFK), 2022. It was screened at the Mumbai International Film Festival. It then went on to receive the Satyajit Ray Silver Award for the second best documentary at the 5th South Asian Short Film Festival, 2022. It also bagged the Best Documentary award at the 9th Siliguri Short and Documentary Film Festival, 2022.