Bengali film Honey is a ‘love letter’ to Kolkata and queer desire

Madhu (L) and Satakshi (R) grow closer during their reunion in Honey. (Provided)

Kolkata-born siblings Tanvi and Tanmay Chowdhary wanted to explore the vibrancy of Kolkata by Honey, their new short film centered on queer love.

The film, currently showing at the BFI London Film Festival, follows two women, Satakshi (Satakshi Nandy) and Madhu (Madhyama Halder) who first meet as children and reunite years later for a night at the Hindu festival. annual, ‘Durga Puja’.

The film has three key aspects woven throughout; a diary entry written by Madhu from when he first met Satakshi as a child, the present moment as they explore the festival as adults, and a postcard written by Satakshi to Madhu six years from now.

The Chowdhary siblings originally wrote the story to trace the love story between a man and a woman.

The male actor was not available,” they say. PinkNews. “We were like, ‘Okay, what’s the next best option?'”

Madhu (L) and Satakshi (R) take some time off Honey. (Provided)

When Satakshi suggested her friend Madhyama, everything started to fall into place.

“Gender doesn’t really matter,” they say, “we didn’t have to change anything.”

Madhyama and Satakshi brought their talent to the screen, naturally translating their lines into conversational Bengali and their chemistry is undeniable.

“These are insignificant moments and conversations,” Tanvi says, “but if you watch them again days, months, or years later, you realize they were actually very precious. They are real, honest moments. and authentic shared between these two characters.

She continues: “I have a little trouble with desire. I hoped that the public would feel this desire but also find hope in it.

“Lust can be a beautiful feeling that you hold on to and you don’t want it to end because there’s pleasure in it.

“Even the characters come together in this town after a long time. This is for anyone going back to their roots and feeling like it’s not the same or something has changed.

Tanmay added, “It’s a love letter to our city, because although we were born here, it’s constantly changing.”

Satakshi on the Ferris wheel.  (Honey/Tanmay/Tanvi Chowdhary)
Satakshi is all smiles as she rides the Ferris wheel. (Honey/Tanmay/Tanvi Chowdhary)

One of the standout moments in the film is when Satakshi and Madhu ride a Ferris wheel together and we see their unbridled zest for life.

For Tanvi and Tanmay, this is the tipping point of Honey where Satakshi and Madhu have let their guard down and revel in the connection they have with each other.

“This whole sequence, you see their different perspectives and how they’re released, and visually and emotionally, that becomes the fabric of the film,” Tanmay says.

At heart, more than 13 minutes Honey gives a tender look at unspoken love, longing and a deep bond between two women that transcends words and years.