Shadows of Time

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Shadows of Time
Directed by Florian Gallenberger
Produced by Helmut Dietl
Norbert Preuss
Written by Florian Gallenberger
Starring Prashant Narayanan
Tannishtha Chatterjee
Irrfan Khan
Tillotama Shome
Soumitra Chatterjee
Music by Gert Wilden Jr.
Cinematography Jürgen Jürges
Edited by Hansjörg Weißbrich
Distributed by Constantin Film
Release date
  • 12 September 2004 (2004-09-12) (Toronto International Film Festival)
  • 12 May 2005 (2005-05-12) (Germany)
Running time
122 minutes
Country Germany
Language Bengali

Shadows of Time (German: Schatten der Zeit) is a 2004 romantic Bengali language German film, shot in Calcutta, India. It is the first feature-length film of Academy Award winning director Florian Gallenberger, and stars Prashant Narayanan, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Irrfan Khan and Tillotama Shome in pivotal roles.


The film opens with the elderly Ravi (Soumitra Chatterjee) driving to an abandoned carpet factory in West Bengal. As he explores the remains of the factory, he finds his bed and other memoirs. The story flashbacks to the early 1940s in pre-independent India, with Ravi Gupta (Sikandar Agarwal) a child laborer in the factory, saving up his earnings so that he can leave the factory one day. Ravi befriends a girl of his own age, Masha (Tumpa Das), who's been sold to the factory by her father. When the obstinate factory manager (Biplab Dasgupta) tries to sell Masha to a rich man, Ravi unsuccessfully tries to match the bid. He subsequently gives her the money to escape, and as they part Masha promises to wait for Ravi at every full moon at Calcutta's great Shiva temple.

Years later, the adult Ravi (Prashant Narayanan) leaves the factory and sets out for Calcutta. He begins working for an old carpet seller and his granddaughter, Deepa (Tillotama Shome). Masha (Tannishtha Chatterjee) has become a professional courtesan in Calcutta, romanced by a customs officer, Yani Mishra (Irrfan Khan). Masha goes to the Shiva temple every full moon to possibly meet Ravi, who himself is trying to search for her. They almost meet one night, but are separated by the chance arrival of Deepa, who Masha thinks is Ravi's wife. Masha decides to marry Yani, and Ravi, thinking Masha has forgotten him, finally marries Deepa.

Ravi renovates the carpet shop and becomes an Exporter of carpets. A few years later, he meets Yani, who had once bought a carpet from him to impress Masha. Yani invites him and Deepa to a dinner party, where Ravi and Masha finally meet. Perplexed at first, their mutual attraction gradually turns into an extra-marital affair. When Yani announces that he has been transferred to Kerala, Masha gets scared at the thought of losing Ravi again and asks him to take some action. Confused, Ravi arrives at the railway station but lets her down. The two leave, with Yani telling Ravi, just before boarding, that Masha is pregnant.

A few years later, Yani visits Ravi and tells him that Masha delivered a boy in Kerala, but he came to know that it wasn't his, and he threw them out of his house. Ravi goes to the brothels, where he finds Masha and their son, but she refuses to see him. Ravi departs, sliding a packet full of money into her room before leaving.

The film comes to the present time where elderly Ravi is at the factory. He hears a little girl and her grandmother in the courtyard. He starts talking to them and finds out that the grandmother is Masha, who is still waiting for Ravi to come; because this was the place where they first met. Ravi is astounded, but in the end he decides to walk away. The little girl asks her grandmother who he was, to which she replies, "It was Ravi".



Gallenberger first came to India in April 2001 for research and spent around a year and a half researching and understanding life. He was moved by a radio interview he had earlier heard, of a little girl working as a laborer in an Indian carpet factory which prompted him to leave for India and research a story.[1] He set his story in Calcutta, which had earlier attracted renowned filmmakers from all over the world like Jean Renoir, Roberto Rossellini, Louis Malle and Roland Joffe to come and make a film in the city. But Gallenberger decided that unlike the others, he was going to make it in Bengali language rather than in English or his native German.[2] The film was partly funded by the German government and was produced by Helmut Dietl and Norbert Preuss.[3] Preuss, in an interview, stated though the story was written in German by Gallenberger, the Indian setting and Bengali language were chosen to maintain authenticity.[4]

Noted Indian theatre actor Dilip Shankar who did casting in Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding and Pan Nalin's Samsara, was appointed as the casting director for Shadows of Time. Aishwarya Rai, Sir Ben Kingsley and Vivek Oberoi were being considered for major roles in the film,[5] but the roles of adult Ravi and adult Masha went to actors Prashant Narayanan and Tannishtha Chatterjee respectively. Gallenberger had spotted Narayanan in Chhal and was impressed by him.[6] For the young Ravi and Masha, more than 7,000 schoolchildren were auditioned before they narrowed it down to Sikandar Agarwal and Tumpa Das.[7] For portraying the old age of the characters, veteran Bengali actor Soumitra Chatterjee and actor Utpal Dutt's widow Sova Sen were chosen.[3]

Gallenberger hired a Bengali communicator for a crash course in the language for non-Bengali members of the 100-member crew, which include 10 Germans.[3] The lead actor Prashant Narayanan too had to take lessons in the language as he is originally from South India and did not know Bengali.[8] The shooting of the film began in March 2003 at locations in and around Calcutta, and was finished in 12 weeks.[2]


Shadows of Time
Soundtrack album by Gert Wilden Jr.
Released April 18, 2004
Genre Film score, Soundtrack
Length 46:20
Label Colosseum[9]

The music in the film was composed by Gert Wilden Jr., who had earlier composed music in Gallenberger's Academy Award winning 2000 short film Quiero ser (I want to be ...).

  1. "Prologue - Factory Memories" - 5:13
  2. "City Lights" - 01:10
  3. "Masha's Song" [A] - 2:38
  4. "Clandestine Exercises" - 1:26
  5. "Farewell" - 3:31
  6. "Full Moon at the Temple" - 3:52
  7. "Bansuri Phantasy" - 1:44
  8. "Shining Shoes" [B] - 1:11
  9. "Missing" - 2:51
  10. "White Shoes" - 0:54
  11. "The Letter" - 1:06
  12. "Carlton" - 1:10
  13. "In Search of Masha" - 2:19
  14. "Ticket Booth" - 1:18
  15. "Communication Breakdown" - 1:59
  16. "Thinking of Masha" - 0:56
  17. "Masha's Escape" - 0:57
  18. "Another Farewell" - 1:11
  19. "Behind The Door" - 3:02
  20. "Dandy's Lover" [C] - 1:21
  21. "The Kiss" - 1:52
  22. "Epilogue" - 4:39
A^ : Vocals by Tannishtha Chatterjee; Music by Debojyoti Mishra; Lyrics by Amit Kumar & Florian Gallenberger
B^ : Performed by The Firehouse Jazzmen; Music by Werner Tautz
C^ : Performed by The Firehouse Jazzmen; Music by Heinz Kiessling


The film was screened at the 5th International Film Festival of Marrakech on November 12, 2005.[10] It was a nominee for the coveted Golden Star (Best Film), but lost to the Kirghiz film Saratan.[11]

  • Bavarian Film Award for Best New Director (Florian Gallenberger)
  • Bavarian Film Award for Best Cinematography (Jürgen Jürges)
  • Best European Film at the Mons International Festival of Love Films


  1. ^ "Life after winning an Oscar". Young Germany. 
  2. ^ a b "Shadows of Time is my cinematic tribute to Kolkataw". June 3, 2005. 
  3. ^ a b c Chhaya, M. (February 27, 2003). "Oscar-winner to shoot Bengali film". 
  4. ^ "German Oscar winner to tell a Bengali love story". Times of India. February 27, 2003. 
  5. ^ Konar, Debashis (September 25, 2002). "Kingsley to shoot in Kolkata for Bengali film?". Times of India. 
  6. ^ Thandi, Preeti (2004). "The Reluctant Actor". 
  7. ^ Sengupta, Reshmi (2004). "Life, moment by moment: Screen On & Off". The Telegraph. 
  8. ^ Mitra, Ashish (March 15, 2003). "Changing times". Screen. 
  9. ^ "Shadows of Time original soundtrack". Retrieved 2009-03-07. 
  10. ^ "Release dates for Schatten der Zeit". Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  11. ^ "Marrakech International Film Festival 2005". Retrieved 2009-04-14. 

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