Diganta Dey who is a student and made a short film which won many awards and one international nomination. Read on to know more about this young and talented filmmaker.
Tell us about your life journey in brief?
I started writing stories when I was seventeen years old. I wanted to become a scriptwriter. However, my dream was not possible from my hometown Tufanganj in the Cooch Behar district of West Bengal (also popular as North Bengal). I studied at N.N. Memorial High School, Tufanganj – a village that became fully electrified in 2011.
To do further studies, I moved to Kolkata and graduated from Dum Dum Motijheel College. I took up Journalism & Mass Communication as a general subject along with my Honours. My story changed completely when I saw a group of my seniors shooting some good documentaries. I was inspired by their work and then my instinct said, “Yeah, why not me!”
Gradually, I started plotting stories, converting some good ones into screenplays, and then began shooting them from my camera. This journey was not as smooth as you may think. After a long struggle, I made my first film community, which included some college friends. We named our team as ‘Teammate Workers’. Our first project was ‘3 Seeds of My Life’, which did not go well, as we had little knowledge about filmmaking. The frustrating part was that we had to stop our film shooting midway, as it was banned due to some controversy and that was a great disaster for me. However, after many requests and lengthy paperwork, we got permission to complete it finally.
Then, I took a recess, studied, and gained sufficient knowledge about cinematography. Fortunately, our second project ‘The Silent Wheel’ brought me into limelight.
What prompted you to become a filmmaker?
My struggling period began when I came to Kolkata for my graduation studies. There were many small groups in the Dum Dum Motijheel College. One such group was from English medium high standard schools of Kolkata. Another group comprised migrated students who came from other Indian cities. Although I did not bother to interact with the English-medium group, some students really treated me like an ‘alien from UFO’, and that was heartbreaking for me. When I introduced myself and narrated a film story to a senior group (that is a ‘film expert’) in the Mass Communication department, the group students criticized me that filmmaking was not my cup of tea. I took this taunt as a challenge and made my film community with some of my like-minded friends. They suggested that I direct the film.
Another reason that prompted me to become a filmmaker was that I was surrounded with odd questions, such as ‘Is Cooch Behar in India or in Bengal?’ and ‘Does Cooch Behar really exist?’ Such questions were too pathetic for me to bear. I did not know then whether I could ever make the film. But I made a target that if I were able to make it, the public would know me as well as my place where I grew up through my work. Therefore, I took the route to film direction due to this rivalry. Afterwards, Film Direction became my actual career.
Tell us about your team, if you have?
My film community includes Ananya Adhikary, Anirban Chanda, and me from the same college. Other team members also helped me in filmmaking – Shirsha Tanay Ghosh, Joy Biswas, and Bidyut Dey to name a few. All of my team members have been supportive, without whom I would not have been able to reach this stage.
How many/ What kind of movies you have made?
Till now, we have made two short films. The first one is ‘3 Seeds of My Life’, which is based on three different issues of our country. The film is presented in a docu-fiction technique.
The other short film is ‘The Silent Wheel’, which is fictional and portrays a story of life on wheels. It is a silent film with no language used. This was one reason naming it ‘The Silent Wheel’. This film has won many awards including an international nomination.
What is your dream/ vision?
My dream vision is to release feature films or short documentaries in big screens with profitable margins. Another dream is to build an independent theatre in every district of India.
What difficulties you face as an independent filmmaker?
I think all aspects of an independent filmmaker are difficult. However, I would specifically like to mention about the funding and distribution process of an Indian film. Pocket money or crowd funding is not the final solution of finance, and the Internet is not the final platform of distribution for the film type that we have made. Although we get help from our financiers, we need sensible producers and a perfect revenue distribution system (so we can get back our revenues from independent films). I think all types of movies are sellable if they have unique concepts and strong human connections.
What inspires you or keeps you going?
I get my everyday inspiration from what I see, learn, and hear outside of my home. I also get inspiration from books/newspapers, neighbours, and from nature indeed.
Any fun/ memorable incident?
On one of my first movie-shooting days, a scene was shot in which a boy and a girl had to walk together holding their hands. The shot was okay and completed, but still the actors were moving forward with their hands together. I packed up silently and all our units were ready to go home. Till then the two actors had gone far away. After some minutes, they realized the prank, which was so funny that everybody laughed.
There are many other memorable incidents, but my first Award Day for ‘The Silent Wheel’ was unforgettable.
What advice you’d like to give to someone who is interested/newbie in filmmaking?
Remember the following words:
o Do not lose hope.
o Where there is a will, there is a way.
o Try something unique in your film style, and
o Observe minutely all kinds of things around you.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Watch all types of films, and never categorize your movie choices like mainstream, independent, or regional types. Remember that all film types are part of Indian cinema.
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