Kolkata-based filmmaker Anirban Dutta is making his mark on the independant film industry with a bold and idiosyncratic approach, and with his directorial debut ‘Jahnabi’ being selected at multiple International Film Festivals across the globe, Dutta is all set to release his next film ‘Colours’, early next year. Check out our conversation with the CalcuttaWalks explorer, as he gives us an insight into his creative process and his inspiration behind the film.
Tell us about ‘Colours’.
I have always been curious about our six senses and how they react or are unable to react when one or some of our primary organs suddenly fail to respond. Do we go back to our same senses easily or if we cannot retain them back ever, how do we feel! I have always tried to look beyond the pain and try to see the dream when I cannot actually see them. They are like writing about Spring without witnessing the flowers ever. There is still a lot of bullying for being someone who is physically unable, however not mentally. The mindfulness of the blind kids, that I have interacted with is mind-blowing. They think, feel and express through every action and motivate me. It inspires me to be blind at some point in my life and only dream what I want to see, what I adore to watch. It is like putting up my own show! Colourblindness is something that people often misunderstand and pity unnecessarily. My story is of a colourblind girl whose favourite subject is Chemistry and Krishna. The girl’s dreams go beyond the boundaries of self pity and adoring the disability through the metaphysical and chemical reactions set in the sea, river and a Chemistry Laboratory.
Synopsis of the film - Let’s say somebody with normal color vision can identify and distinguish 150 hues. If I were colorblind this number starts to drop as I have fewer possibilities to create colour mixtures from my receptors. In case of absolute color blindness—missing one type of cone at all—I might be able to distinguish only as many as 20 different hues! The story that inspired me to make this film was a “bahuroopi” girl who dressed herself like Lord Krishna during the Basanta Utsav at Bolpur - Shantiniketan last year and her eyes were mesmerizing. There wasn’t a moment when she didn’t seem like Krishna. I went close to her and appreciated her make up, that is when she replied that she doesn’t feel the hues as much as I can see and feel it and I discovered she was colourblind. My film starts with a female hand with a piece of glass dipping it in many colours (liquids) and leaving impressions on a blotting paper symbolizing the unfilled hues of the girl. I have named the lead as the true character Anu and here I have divided her in two leads, i.e., one who is suffering the colourblindness and one who wants to live and dream beyond her. As I love silent films and music at the same time thus I am keeping the entire film silent and embedding it with natural sounds and musical treatments which are less composed and more from our own instincts. Here Anu’s favourite subject is Chemistry as she can go to the laboratory of chemical reactions and feel the hues of the colours more than reading other subjects. I have created arts installations to be placed on the river and sea to recreate and dream a chemistry laboratory so that Anu of her dream can come beyond the colour-blindness of her own. The message that I want to spread from this film is to read and know more about our less popular but existing diseases. I have always loved the character of Krishna in all the great Indian Mythological Stories and he has always inspired me to look beyond the colour of the cover and notice beneath that our race, colour, origin everything won’t matter at the end of our journey. The only thing we should look for is an equal treatment of love and care for everyone that we know and meet.
What are some of your biggest inspirations over the years of your artistic career?
After my career with Govt. and Public sectors I started traveling, leading walks, photography tours, assisting documentary film makers since the last 3-4 years. My first feature film, Jahnabi was selected at multiple International Film Festivals across the world and people loved how I wanted to symbolise a woman as a river in the same. As a poet and screenwriter the evolution of human life alongside nature intrigues me most and the poetry behind the frames pens my screens. Growing up in Calcutta and being raised here always felt like milieus of dreams, as in everywhere we place our eyes, it is scenic. The fascinating hunger for life, thriving and yet struggling human lives followed by the development of silent alliance between us and the nature are eclectic here.
Describe your creative process and the purpose with which you create?
I believe in combined approach of putting arts and science together to recreate human phenomenon and its characteristics to portray arts. Trying my hand with photography eventually I realised that film is a cohesive art, where I could experiment and script all of art forms together. The history of science, science of history, arts of presenting history , history of arts so far and so forth...these are somethings that I would love to work on and Indian Arts and the history of Indian Arts will always inspire me.
If you could propose and lead a project with the Indian Government, what would it be?
It’s been my dream to work on the synchronization of various Indian tribal dances and music and represent them historically, homogeneously and not geographically only.
Which is your favourite piece of work of your own & why?
As of now, my first film ‘Jahnabi’, because it taught me film making.
One track you’re currently listening to?
Charulata’s Theme Music by Satyajit Ray.
A project you wish you were a part of?
Namesake by Mira Nair.
Your favourite midnight munchies?
Your greatest vice?
Walking too much in the streets of Calcutta.
If you liked Anirban’s work, check out his Instagram here.
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