How I made it: Bohubritta (2018)
The film based on a poem by Swapna Dutta Deka, deals with the multi-layered inner states of a woman. In its persistent mission and zeal to promote good cinema, Indian Film Institute brings you the experience of Director and Producer of the film - Utpal Datta.
10 minutes | Assamese | Poetry, Experimental | 2018 | India
The film showcases how a woman is educated, well read and contemplated yet she dreams about the various states of the mind of a woman. She thinks that a woman is always a loner, she might have her husband, but he does not feel about the inner world of his wife. He leads his life as if he is playing chess. The woman imagines how she could dance in her best of moments, she can worship the earth and water, she can dream of the setting sun over the mighty river.
Why this subject matter for your film.
For me, selection and finalization of the subject depends upon several factors. I was thinking of doing some experiment in the narrative form and for that experiment I had selected a poem and was working on that.
I was also thinking of making a short film on the subject of womanhood. During that period, my old friend, Swapna Dutta Deka came to me with a proposal to make a film based on her poem. She gave me the manuscript of her poetry book and I started reading it with a perspective of its visual appeal and possibilities of transforming the written words into strong visual images.
Most of her poems revolve around womanhood. First, I selected three poems which provoked me to think in terms of moving images and after several discussion with her, we settled for the poem Moi (I) and in the film we changed the title to BOHUBRITTA- CIRCLES.
Fact Check: The filmmaker has been a film critic for more than three decades.
Where did you find this story for this film?
This question is interesting. The poem, Moi, is an abstract poem and we had to shape it as a story to create a flow - who is the woman, what is her background, what is her education, where does she live, how old she is etc. The compilation of all the replies to these questions gave birth to that woman.
You will find in the film, in the very opening scene, the lady was all dressed, she was a bit of restless- the question arises - why so? - Is she ready to go out with her husband or someone or is he yet to arrive? Those were the sub texts that made the story.
What were the challenges you faced in making the film?
Yes, I always like to travel by the less traveled roads. So I always enjoy creative challenges. Our major concern was to whether we will be able to tell the subtexts with the images and colours, whether we will be able to capture the images as we saw during the time of writing.
Those were the many questions raised during the pre-production process. We had a wonderful team with us, one of the finest film editors of our country, Aseem Sinha, and sound designer and music director, Amrit Pritam and I had a fear in a corner of my mind whether we will be able to provide them adequate raw material to match their creative level or not.
To tell you the truth, we had not thought about the future of the film. What we enjoyed in the various phases of the production? It was our creative exercise and we enjoyed it to the fullest.
Did you face any problems in releasing the film?
We had no idea where to release a short film, however, we ended up designing a plan. After the shooting of the film, two directors, Prashant Saikia and Prodyut Kumar Deka came to me with a proposal of an independent feature film. I could not refuse Prodyut for one simple reason and the reason being that whenever he tells me to do something; he always says it with his best intention. So, I said yes and we started shooting for the movie.
We had a plan to release BOHUBRITTA- CIRCLES an independent film. We completed the film on schedule time and we had already started working on our release plan. But, bad luck, we never thought that ‘Miss Corona’ would smile at us. And the rest is present.
What was your background before making your first film?
I made my first short in 2013. It was in India Panorama of IFFI and travelled almost all the major film festivals. I remember watching the movie Johny Mera Naam while I was in high school and I was so hypnotized by its beauty and grandeur. I thought, one day I will make a film like this.
In my college I watched movies by Satyajit Ray and I discovered another perspective of film. I started reading about films and tried to find out opportunities to work as an assistant director. I assisted with a few film directors and started dreaming of making my own film - the biggest film in Assamese language. I had found a Tamil novel and started writing screenplay based on that novel. And destiny had other plans for me, as I ended up joining the government services.
During that entire period, I spent my time in exploring the beauty of all forms of arts as I believe that Film is the assembly of essences of all arts. Now I am dreaming of my first independent feature film as the biggest film of North East.
How do you think filmmakers like you can overcome common challenges like finance and distribution?
I am an independent filmmaker and I make film with some mad people who enjoy the making of cinema as a creative exercise. If my product is good, it will sell, what I mean to say is that it will find its space to stand, otherwise the hard disk will find his place in at the corner of my study table.
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