The erstwhile French colony Chandannagar, which is situated along the Hooghly river in West Bengal, is the stage for an underdog sports story in the web series Bombers. Directed by Vishal Furia (Lapachhapi, Criminal Justice) and written by Vishal Kapoor, the Zee5 series follows the trials and tribulations of the fictional Chandannagar-based football club Bombers FC.
A tragic bus accident kills all players of the club except Badol (Varun Mitra). A minister, Manik Dasgupta (Sameer Soni), moves for the kill by taking over the club’s grounds and commissioning a shopping mall. The only way for Bombers FC to stop Manik is to rebuild the team from scratch. Set for a June 22 release, Bombers also stars Ranvir Shorey, Zakir Hussain, Sapna Pabbi, Aahana Kumra and Meiyang Chang in key roles.
“The reason to pick Chandannagar for the story was because of its rich French heritage, which in turn has influenced the intense passion for football that its residents have,” Kapoor told Scroll.in. “Every time, during the football world cup finals, the entire city is drowned in the French flag’s colours and people are on the streets to cheer for France.” The 2018 football world cup final match between France and Croatia was telecast live on a giant screen in Chandannagar.
Kapoor gave a tour of the world of the series and its characters. “After the accident, Badol is suffering from his demons and he has gone into a shell,” he said. “He is considering playing for a Mumbai club, but the city holds him back. He has, meanwhile, detached himself from his girlfriend Sanjana, who worries about Badol, but he doesn’t want sympathy.” Aahana Kumra plays Sanjana.
Bombers FC’s owner Somu (Zakir Hussain) brings in one of the club’s former players, Debu (Ranvir Shorey), to coach a new team with Badol as captain. The plan is to win the Zee Bangla Football League, an actual West Bengal-based tournament started by Zee Entertainment Enterprises, which owns Zee5. The tournament has been incorporated in the series.
“Debu da was once a top player in the club, but his arrogant ways led to Somu da getting rid of him,” he said. Meanwhile, the journey of the club is being documented by documentary filmmaker Andy (Sapna Pabbi).
The idea of a football team being obliterated in an accident has been inspired by real-life tragedies, such as the 1958 airplane accident that ended the lives of 11 members of the Manchester United team, and the 1993 airplane accident that killed all members of the Zambian football team.
Kapoor, a Manchester United fan, may have got the sport right, but has he grasped the particularities of Bengali culture in a series set in a place that is foreign to him? “I have tried my best with the research,” Kapoor said. “So have my crew and the entire cast, despite a short period of time. I know there can be complaints, but we have given our 100% to this.”
Following Bombers, Kapoor is moving on to writing the second season of the series, the follow-up to the Zee5 series Abhay, and a web series for Hotstar with director Ken Ghosh. Meanwhile, Kapoor continues to refine the script of Furia’s Hindi debut, the horror film, Bogie No S4, a project that won two major awards at the 2018 Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival. Bogie No S4 follows a depressed sales executive in his thirties, for whom a regular train journey turns into a nightmare.