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‘Troilokya’: Deepa Mehta to Direct Thriller About a Prostitute Turned Serial Killer in British India

‘Troilokya’: Deepa Mehta to Direct Thriller About a Prostitute Turned Serial Killer in British India

  • Written by Juhi Chaturvedi, the film “navigates through eccentric relationships fraught with lust, obsession, revenge and hatred.”

Indo-Canadian filmmaker Deepa Mehta is set to direct “Troilokya,” a thriller about an Indian woman known to be a serial killer. Written by Juhi Chaturvedi (“Vicky Donor,” “Piku,” “October,” and “Gulabo Sitabo”), the film, according to Verity, “set in 19th century Calcutta during British rule, sees a female prostitute embark on an unheard-of killing spree.” For more than a decade, she is hunted down by Detective Priyonath Mukhopadhyay. It “navigates through eccentric relationships fraught with lust, obsession, revenge and hatred.”

In a statement to Variety, Mehta said she is most intrigued by “the challenge of depicting a serial murderess as a heroine. When she asks herself if this “child bride turned prostitute turned killer” can “muster empathy,” the answer is always “an unequivocal yes,” she said. 

Production, through pan-Asian film company Through the Lens Entertainment and India’s Open Air Films. is set for August and September with locations including India and Thailand. Through the Lens Entertainment is backed by Chand and Bruce Berman, a senior executive who was previously CEO and chairman of Village Roadshow Pictures.

For Aditya Chand, filmmaker and producer at Through the Lens Entertainment, “Troilokya” is not only “a spectacular historical drama,” it is also “ a magnificently twisted love story of up to now un-heard true events.” He credited Chaturvedi for “the story to life in such magnificent and vivid ways.” He told Variety that he “cannot wait to see this all come together under Deepa Mehta’s excellent direction and vision, as it’s been years in the planning. It feels right to be helmed with such a powerful, tour-de-force female-led team.”

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Mehta is most known for her Elements Trilogy, “Fire” (1996), “Earth” (1998), and “Water” (2005), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. She went on to direct “Midnight’s Children” (2012), an adaptation of Salman Rushdie’s book, and “Funny Boy” (2020), which told a gay sexual awakening story set against the backdrop of clashes between the Sinhalese and Tamil communities in Sri Lanka.

Born in India, she migrated to Canada after studying philosophy at the University of New Delhi. Initially focusing on documentaries, she’s received numerous awards, honorary degrees, and prestigious honors like the Governor General’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award and the Order of Canada for her groundbreaking work in film. Recognized for challenging norms, Mehta’s films are revered for their daring and provocative nature, earning her distinctions like the Best Canadian Director by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle in 2006. She also co-founded Hamilton-Mehta Productions, with her husband, producer David Hamilton in 1996.

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