Abhijit Chowdhury tells t2 how a masterclass by Shoojit Sircar inspired him to make his debut film

I have not been to a film school. But I watched a lot of films....

  • Published 13.09.15

I have not been to a film school. But I watched a lot of films.... If your film is honest and engaging, your audience will sit through it — that’s Shoojit Sircar addressing a class full of film buffs at a workshop in ICCR two years ago. Among the participants, a 30-year-old film enthusiast listened closely and took notes. Burdwan boy Abhijit Chowdhury started working on a script soon after and his debut film Dwitiyo Ripu released this Friday. A t2 chat with Abhijit, an IT professional, actor Bitan Biswas and Anandi Ghose, the woman behind the workshop at ICCR… 

Kheya Chattopadhyay and Bitan Biswas in Dwitiyo Ripu

Abhijit actually met Bitan for the first time at the workshop two years ago...
Anandi: Yes, we did a series of 10 
workshops in 2013. Sujoy Ghosh and Shoojitda came as guests and one got to know how the industry functions. I always thought that it would be lovely to have these workshops. Of course, you cannot learn how to make a film over the weekend but it can trigger a lot of things. You can meet a lot of people. Abhijit was there for the script-writing workshop. These little starting points happen in workshops. 

What was your first impression of Dwitiyo Ripu?
Anandi: It was very impressive. Honestly, it is better shot and better designed than many professional Tolly films out there. I saw this passion for making films after a really long time. The subject is very personal. The film is more like a personal dialogue. This kind of an effort is really inspiring… they just put in their resources and made a film, which is really exciting.

How is the indie film scene in Calcutta? Does it hold promise?
Anandi: See what Asha Jaoar Majhe did. It got such a fabulous run. There definitely is an audience which is open to different kinds of cinema. The language of cinema is changing… it is becoming more personal. Now you can shoot a film on your iPhone. Asha Jaoar Majhe has opened doors for so many people. For young filmmakers, this is so encouraging. 

Tell us about the promo song Bish sung by Anupam Roy?
Abhijit: I wrote it five years ago. I was staying in Kestopur at that time. One of my cellphones got stolen and the recorded song was in there. Two weeks later, I was walking down a lane in the evening. Because of a power cut it was pitch dark. Four guys walked past me, and suddenly I got to hear strains of my song coming from one of their phones. The first thought that struck me was that my song had got stolen. It was so scary! Then I confronted them and two of them ran away! But I got my phone back. 

What did you take back from the Shoojit Sircar workshop? 
Abhijit: Two things —  to work with theatre actors… they are so involved… and to shoot guerrilla-style. Also, we took five months to edit the film and four months to colour correct.

Bitan, Anandi Ghose and Abhijit Chowdhury at The Gateway Hotel. Picture: B. Halder

Where did you edit the film?
Abhijit: There are many edit suites in the city that charge less, one-fourth or one-fifth their regular rates, at night. So we would go to this place around midnight and edit till 6am.... I have tried to make a very carefree film. Dwitiyo Ripu explores the themes of anger, fantasy and hypocrisy. When I first came to Calcutta a few years ago, I saw people in coffee houses going on and on about changing the world. It was like coffee house activism or armchair activism.... The film’s protagonist Raktim thinks very highly of himself. 
Anandi: Like he has this strange sense of entitlement.
Abhijit: Raktim has written this novel and feels that it can change a lot of things. He wants to get it published by a big publication house. He wants to use the establishment to voice his anti-establishment views. Meanwhile, he meets a college girl, Imon (Kheya), who is indifferent to her social reality.
Anandi: Maybe some live in a virtual bubble, or are disconnected from reality or from their roots. The previous generation stood for something… maybe that has eroded somewhat with time. We are more malleable. Thanks to social media, there’s a cause every day. So what do you support now?

Bitan, you quit your job in Bangalore and came back to Calcutta...
Bitan: I was there for nine months. But the pull of acting was too strong and I dropped everything and got back to Calcutta. 
Anandi: He followed his heart.

The film’s protagonist Raktim is 26. What were you doing at 26?
Anandi: I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, who I really am, what my principles are. What things I stand by. As a teen, you are impulsive and emotional. You are not looking inwards or digging deep. You are affected by what’s happening around you. You want to change the world. After 25, you start looking within. At 26, I was making ad films. Also, I was dating my husband (Anirban Sengupta) then! 

Arindam Chatterjee
What did you like/ didn’t like about Dwitiyo Ripu? Tell t2@abp.in