French director makes film on a Bangladeshi chess grand master | 2019-06-15

French director makes film on a Bangladeshi chess grand master

Sun Online Desk

15th June, 2019 12:48:34 printer

French director makes film on a Bangladeshi chess grand master

Famous French film director and writer Pierre-François Martin-Laval is making a film based on Bangladeshi-French junior chess champion Fahim Mohammad.

The movie tells the real story of a boy who was born in 2000 in Bangladesh. The eight year-old chess prodigy Fahim was forced to flee his native Bangladesh and reached Paris with his father in 2008.

After reaching France, both sought political asylum, but their applications were rejected after two years. After that, Fahim and his father began living in France as illegal immigrants.

Despite their struggles, Fahim and his father did not break down and continued to show determination and their fighting spirit. At one stage, he had to leave his school but he tried to learn French language. Fahim is not just good at playing chess, he also managed to learn French faster than most non-native speakers.

Fahim’s father, Nura, who has a chess aficionado, trained his son in chess at a very early age. When Fahim was six, he had won his first tournament in Kolkata, India and was recognised as a child chess prodigy in his own country where he was featured on the TV and in the newspapers.

By a stroke of luck, Fahim was introduced to one of France's top chess coaches, Xavier Parmentier, who tutored him and gave him a sense of purpose, his struggles on the chessboard mirroring both his victories and his crushing defeats in his battle for a normal life.

After his spectacular entrance to the France chess scene in 2012, when he was 11 years old, he became a French national champion and a member of the national youth team which represented France at several international tournaments. Unfortunately, he was an illegal immigrant in France at that time. He reached the winners’ podium on many occasions, and following year, he won the World Schools Championship Under-13.

But this fairytale was tainted by a sad, unexpected event that shook Fahim’s world. When his life took some ordered pathway, with his chess coach and faithful friend, Xavier, by his side, destiny played cruel joke: on the April 30th, 2016, Xavier Parmentier succumbed to cancer at age 52.

A few months later, Sophie Le Callenec continues the legacy of her cousin Xavier Parmentier and supported Fahim to continue his success. Fahim calls Sophie as his second mother.

This touching story about Fahim will be commemorated also on the big screens. Directed by Pierre-François Martin-Laval, a film titled simply ‘Fahim’ has recently finished shooting.

The French-language film is being made as an adaptation of the novel, “A Clandestine King (Un roi clandestine)” a joint effort by Fahim, Sophie Le Callennec and Xavier Parmentier. 

Fahim’s coach, Xavier, will be portrayed by Gerard Depardieu. The film, directed by Pierre-François Martin-Laval, was shot at various locations in Paris, Kolkata and West Bengal tourist destination Taki, which is located at North 24 Parganas district.

The film will hit theatres in France on October 16.