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Lawyer-turned-filmmaker Kaushik Ray returns to the BFI Flare festival with his directorial The Lime Green Shirt, which premieres under the ‘Tender-hearted’ category on Saturday 23rd March and Sunday 24th March 2024 at BFI Southbank. Jointly produced by Ray’s own production house, Taran Tantra Telefilms with Neeraj Churi alongside Berlinale Talent Pooja Chauhan (Goldfish).

The 16-minute short, picturised in the English language with Bengali, revolves around Saraswati Sinha (Lillete Dubey, Monsoon Wedding), a retired and widowed doctor, who lives alone in Richmond, North Yorkshire. Desperate to reconnect with her son Akash (Kush Khanna, Boogie Man), with whom she has become estranged over the years, Saraswati travels to London to stay with him. A successful trader with a stylish Penthouse apartment, Akash seems to have it all. Yet, beneath the veneer of success, he is plagued by deep-seated traumas and crippling self-doubt, which he blames on his strict upbringing by an unforgiving mother who demanded academic greatness at the expense of his passion for music. As the unintended consequences of her

authoritarian parenting become painfully clear, Saraswati realises she must confront her fears and transgenerational traumas if she wants to rebuild a relationship with the son she barely knows.

Inspired by a true incident in the filmmaker’s life, the picture was shot last year, with two original songs written by Kaushik and the lead actor Kush. The poetic storytelling is inspired by social realism of filmmakers like Mike Leigh and the humanism/colour palettes of Satyajit Ray.
Therefore, he has the flair of exploring the middle classes, with a key focus on the British Asian queer community. This influence is also mirrored in masterpieces by idol visionaries like Pedro Almodóvar.

“The Lime Green Shirt in many ways is my own origin story. At its heart is the kernel of my own truth, albeit its retelling is fictionalised. I am fascinated by the balance of fact and fiction, and have always found myself drawn to human drama that explores the nuance and space between the black and white. Life is filled with contradictions, and I embrace them. I look for the rainbows in the grey. As a filmmaker it is essential to me that I to equip my wider team with female and QPOC cast and crew, with a deliberate view to bring diversity into storytelling,” Kaushik says.

“BFI Flare has such a special place in my heart. The first short I co-produced, Muhafiz (The Protector), premiered in 2022, and that’s where I met the producer of The Lime Green Shirt. So to have my first film as writer/director debut there, feels super special. Towards the end of my legal career, I started supporting queer Indian filmmakers in telling interesting stories, as a producer. My film is based in London (as am I), so it’s sort of a homecoming for me,” he adds.

The Lime Green Shirt marks Kaushik’s first film as writer/director. His feature debut A Life A Rose is being produced by French production house Backup Media and Bombay Berlin Film Productions Limited, with leading Indian actress Deepti Naval (Lion) in the main role. This
same-sex love story between two septuagenarian Indian women will be ground-breaking in its scope.

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