‘Searching for Happiness’, three simple words have about 104,000,000 results on Google and 15,086 quotes on Goodreads. What is happiness? Many people do not find it, while some may find happiness without asking about it. Regardless of our hard times, we all are busy trying to find happiness. Ultimately, it is the absolute desire of all human beings. Indian filmmaker Suman Ghosh visualized our desire for happiness through his film ‘Searching for Happiness.’
The film has already bagged many achievements and now it will be shown at the London Indian Film Festival 2021.
The Idea and Storyline of the Film
Director Suman Ghosh got the idea for the film from his seven-year-old daughter, Maya. One Sunday in Miami, she got a balloon and drew a smiley on it. Then, she and her sister started looking out of the window from their eighteenth-floor apartment. Then Suman got curious and asked them what they were looking for. To answer this, Maya replied she was searching for ‘happiness.’ Later it turned out that she was looking for the balloon that she named ‘happiness.’ Maya had let it go because she wanted to spread happiness all over the world.
Her idea was that happiness would spread from Miami to her uncle's house in Boston and then go to her uncle's house in Calcutta. But as soon as the balloon flew, the little girl noticed that happiness flew away. After this incident, a plot came to Suman Ghosh's mind and made a storyline based on that.
The little girl goes out to look for the balloon. One by one he asked, "Have you seen Happiness?"
Suman Ghosh called the actress Sudipta Chakraborty and told the story of the film, the actress agreed. A few days later, Suman decided to cast Sudipta's daughter Shahida in the role of the child artist. Although Shahida was a little younger in age, the director hoped that she would be able to play the role. He persuaded Sudipta. Then the mother-daughter duo started to make the film ‘Searching for Happiness.’ The interesting part is, there was no script for the film. From writing on balloons to blowing it up, the story was made up. Then it's all-natural. Shahida went out to look for the balloon and asked everyone who had seen Happiness. From that, a whole movie is made. The run time of this movie is 1 hour 3 minutes.
The whole movie was played by the three characters. The main character was four-year-old Shahida and her mother Sudipta Chakraborty. Arindam Ghosh played the third role in the movie.
Searching for Happiness in London Indian Film Festival 2021
London Indian Film Festival (LIFF) is Europe’s largest platform for Indian and South Asian independent cinema. Every year the festival is arranged to promote good movies that are life-changing. Further, the festival features short films and documentaries.
Founded 10 years ago, the festival is growing rapidly and currently has thirteen locations in three venues: London, Manchester, and Birmingham. The annual Satyajit Ray Competition takes place at the festival and offers a £1,000 prize for the emerging filmmakers. Then six shortlisted entries screened in the festival. Furthermore, the festival will also present Outstanding Achievement Award and Pure Heaven Icon Award supported by Sun Mark Ltd.
Title sponsor Bagri Foundation has been supporting the London Indian Film Festival since 2015. Besides, the festival also gets grant funding from BFI’s National Lottery Audience Fund.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year, the festival evolved as a hybrid festival, which will be online and in venue mix, and anyone can watch from their home via the festival's digital site at www.LoveLIFFatHome.com. This website is accessible from anywhere in the United Kingdom.
The LIFF 2021 takes place from June 17 to July 4 and Searching for Happiness is one of the many films screened at the festival.
Searching for Happiness at Other Film Festivals
The film premiered at the Miami International Film Festival, then also screened at the London Film Festival. Released in 2021, the film also features in the New York Indian International Film Festival through online streaming from June 4 to June 13. As per the recent news the film is selected for the Indian Film Festival Stuttgart. Further, Searching for Happiness will compete for the German Star of India Award.
Who is Suman Ghosh?
Born in 1972, Suman Ghosh is a National Award-winning Indian filmmaker, who had his film training at Cornell University in New York. His very first feature film named Podokkhep starring Nandita Das and Soumitra Chatterjee won two national awards in 2008. Soumitra Chatterjee also featured in Suman’s second film Dwando, which was a part of the Indian Panorama at IFFI Goa in 2009.
Over the span of 15 years, Suman directed 11 films, Podokkhep (2006), Dwando (2009), Nobel Chor (2012), Shyamal Uncle Turns off the Lights (2013), Kadambari (2015), Peace Haven (2016), Mi Amor (2017), The Argumentative Indian (2017), Basu Poribar (2018), Aadhaar (2019) and Searching for Happiness (2021).
All of Sumon’s movies are loved by film enthusiasts and critics. Moreover, this gifted film director won several awards for his films. ‘Shyamal Uncle Turns off the Lights’ won the Best International Film Award at Reel World Film Festival Toronto in 2012. ‘Kadambari’ was showed at Washington DC South Asian Film Festival and achieved the Best Film Award. The latest award Best Film Award (Critics Choice) at the Hyderabad Bengali Film Festival came in 2017 for the film ‘Peace Haven.’
Aside from his film career, Suman Ghosh is also a professor of economics at Florida Atlantic University.
His most recent film ‘Searching for Happiness’ is expected to achieve some awards as it already amazed the viewers in different film festivals.