A petty thief’s loyalties are tested in the midst of an audacious jail break
The only thorn in the flesh of newly appointed jailer Bireshwar Mukherjee, a formidable man with a spotless twenty-five-year record are the inhabitants of Cell No. 12, the prison within a prison, which houses five Naxals, fiery young men dedicated to demolishing class society. When Bhagoban “Bhogai” Sardar, a thief who has committed a petty crime returns to jail, where he feels at home, Bireshwar Mukherjee has an idea. Bhagoban will secretly function as his pair of eyes on the inmates of Cell No. 12 and detect their nefarious plans. Slowly, however, Bhagoban gets drawn to the empathy of these strange young men. As the Naxals plan a daring escape that will either win them freedom or cost them their lives, he has to make a decision about a purpose that’s bigger than him.
Published in 2013 as Batashe Baruder Gondho in Bangla, Gunpowder in the Air is a darkly comic indictment of the Indian prison system as well as a deeply empathetic historical document of Naxalism in West Bengal.