Monsoon – A Love Letter to India releases in Surrey and Vancouver on April 24

MONSOON Kelkar VistaMONSOON LeveeBreaksWomanBGMONSOON MushemiWindowMONSOON_BombayLightningMONSOON by award-winning director Sturla Gunnarsson (Such A Long Journey, Force of Nature), and produced by Ina Fichman of Intuitive Pictures, will show in Surrey’s Cineplex Odeon Strawberry Hill Cinemas and Vancouver’s Vancity Theatre on Friday, April 24. Gunnarsson will attend opening weekend screenings for Q&A’s.

Winner of the People’s Choice Award at TIFF Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival 2015 and Winner of the Polly Krakora Award for Artistry in Film at the prestigious Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C., Monsoon, part road movie, part spectacle, part human drama, is a personal reflection on chaos, creation and faith in the land of believers.

Monsoon marks Sturla Gunnarsson’s filmmaking return to India, following his multi-award winning adaptation of Rohinton Mistry’s Such A Long Journey. This time the subject is monsoon, the incomparably vast seasonal weather system that permeates and unifies the immense and varied culture of India, shaping the conditions of existence for its billion inhabitants.

“Monsoon is my love letter to India,” says Gunnarsson. “I’ve been romanced by the idea of monsoon since I can remember. I’ve travelled often and extensively throughout India, I’m married into a big Indian family and have long dreamed of experiencing the monsoon. So, when producer Ina Fichman of Intuitive Pictures offered me the opportunity to make this film, I jumped on it.”

Monsoon was filmed over the course of the 2013 monsoon season across the Indian sub-continent from coastal areas like Kerala and Goa to the drought stricken agricultural lands of Maharashtra, the teeming cities of Mumbai and Kolkata and Cherrapunji to the world’s rainiest place in the State of Meghalaya, aka ‘Place of The Clouds’ at the base of the Himalaya Range, where the monsoon ends its annual journey.

Charting the huge system’s path as it surges toward and gradually engulfs every region of the country, Monsoon introduces us to a remarkable array of individuals whose lives are in different ways entwined with the phenomenon, such as Bishnu Shastri, the red-haired bookie who never seems to lose a weather bet; the desperate farmers whose land has been passed over by monsoon for years; Bollywood star Moushumi Chatterjee, who performed and danced in monsoon rain with Amitabh Bachchan in Manzil; and 12-year-old Akhila Prasad, whose family risks losing everything to the annual rains.

Gunnarsson wanted to capture the epic scale of the monsoon on the breathtaking Indian landscape, while maintaining an intimate sense of the humanity affected by it. All decisions were governed by those two criteria – the epic and the human. There were many challenges in shooting mostly under extreme weather conditions but in order to achieve maximum cinematic effect, the filmmaker used Red Epic cameras which captured the images in ultra high definition 4K, which, in film terms, is roughly equivalent to 70mm. Gunnarsson felt that “the spirit of the monsoon danced in the clouds” and made extensive use of computer-controlled time-lapse photography.

Monsoon’s score was composed by Bombay Dub Orchestra’s Andrew T. MacKay, based on Malhar ragas, and features some of the leading Indian musicians and vocalists from Bombay and London. The score also includes Bombay Dub’s “Monsoon Malabar’.

A cinematic journey into the terrain where nature, science, belief and wonder converge in one of the most astonishing and breathtaking landscapes on earth, Monsoon is a film that captures the timelessness and rich human drama of our engagement with the natural world.

Monsoon will run at Surrey’s Cineplex Odeon Strawberry Hill Cinemas and Vancouver’s Vancity Theatre starting on Friday, April 24.

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