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‘Stolen’ – Actors behind film that wowed at LFF2023 speak about themes – child abduction, lynching, social divisions… watch (review here)

The first of our London Film Festival 2023 interviews…

LEAD actors Abhishek Banerjee and Shubham spoke to us about their roles as brothers caught up in a tense situation over a baby abduction in the Indian film, ‘Stolen’.
It’s the first time that got the opportunity to talk to the duo together.
They are great friends in real life and first knew each other working in theatre.
The two talk about the themes of the film – and a lot centres around the initial kidnap of a baby from a small town railway platform late at night, in the opening scenes and what happens after this.
At Venezia 80 (Venice Film Festival) we interviewed Banerjee separately and writer-director Karan Tejpal and other lead actor Shubham together.
This film has three screenings at the forthcoming Mami Festival in Mumbai and it will be the Indian premiere.
See the site over the coming days for our preview and links.

You can see our Venice interviews with Stolen here…
Abhishek Banerjee (solo) –

Karan Tejpal and Shubham


Jhumpa (Mia Maelzer) reacts to her missing child

‘Stolen’ – Thriller with hard edge is a good watch despite themes

THIS isn’t probably the kind of film you should be eating popcorn to – and yet, ‘Stolen’ is an entertaining thriller with a hard edge and a welter of issues that lie just beneath its intense surface.
The story centres around three characters, two brothers Gautam (Abhishek Banerjee) and Raman (Shubham) – and a domestic service worker called Jhumpa, who appears to be travelling back to her home village with her five month old daughter.
The three of them inadvertently get mixed up in each other’s business, when Jhumpa’s (Mia Maelzer) child goes missing late at night on small town railway platform.
Gautam is there to collect his brother after he missed his flight and has taken the train and attend the wedding of their mother.
This isn’t particularly clear at the beginning but doesn’t need really need to be – because everything is centred around the missing baby – Champa.
There is something of a melee when Jhumpa realises her child is not with her – the opening shots are of her with the baby – this is very important because later in the film, all is not what it seems.
What ‘Stolen’ is particularly adept at doing is keeping you guessing, as to who exactly is telling the truth?
Both Gautam and Raman seem believable and credible and their moral consistency is at the heart of this film. Gautam, by the looks of things, is a wealthy hotel owner and used to nice things, while his brother is more sensitive and fragile (for emotional reasons we learn late into the film) and a professional photographer.
The tension between them is nicely drawn and we see the escalating incident spiral out of all control because of the different ways they react to the unfolding drama.
Based on real events – we don’t have the production notes – ‘Stolen’ packs in a lot of issues – with child abduction, mob violence and mobile phone videos that go viral because of their slanted perspective, all in the mix.
Director and co-writer Karan Tejpal, along with Agadbumb and Gaurav Dhingra (who is the producer) have knitted a tight story together and the whole production – especially some of the chase and fight scenes, are well done and add to a thoroughly satisfying, if slightly uncomfortable 90 minutes or so.
ACV rating: **** (out of five)

*Note We also spoke to Tejpal and Dhingra at the London Film Festival Friday Afternoon Teas, as they are known, on October 6 and will look to carry more about the film either pending a UK cinema release or global platform drop. Dhingra’s company Jungle Book Studio is emerging as a powerhouse independent producer and he along with Tejpal are convinced there is a commercial market for these types of films which are not Bollywood but are still exciting, have high production values and aim to entertain and reflect ongoing issues which are universal and global but told through Indian and India-based stories.

Mami – Mumbai Film Festival (October 27- November 5) – We will be carrying a full preview this coming week…
Stolen screenings:

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture