Subhrajit Mitra’s creative odyssey has been a tapestry woven with passion, learning, and an unwavering commitment to his vision. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the mind of Subhrajit Mitra, unraveling the intricacies of his creative process, the inspiration that fuels his stories, and the upcoming cinematic film that promises to captivate audiences worldwide. Join us as we venture into the heart of cinematic artistry with a director whose narratives resonate beyond the screen.
About You and Your background ? Lets begin days when you were aspiring to be , Days When you became what you are , professional upgrades in your journey?
I have completed my bachelors degree in Computer science and Engineering from a premier university of India. After that I have done a certificate course in ancient Classical literature from the Harvard University and got my Honorary Doctorate in Literature from a reputed university of South India. I used to make documentaries for Government of India [ Defence and Home ministry ] and also for National Geographic Channel, Discovery and History Channel. I have learned the process of film making all by myself. Studying extensively in American ,British, German and Russian libraries and watching world classics in theatres and film festivals. I aspired to be a director, when I was 13/14 years old, after watching E.T. by Steven Spielberg in a theatre and pursued my dream ever since.
How do you convince yourself with things that you have to shoot for a film but you actually don’t otherwise believe?
I don’t shoot anything which I don’t believe in. simple, period. I am extremely choosy and strict about this from the very beginning. Absolutely no compromise, whatsoever.
Your Scripting Process ? Your approach to casting ?
I prefer classical literatures with historical background. Making period pieces gives the opportunity to research, to recreate the history which is fascinating. First if any classic literature appeals me, I start researching on the time period , the customs, the political and social scenario, the attires and many more detailed aspects. Then I study other notable literature and biographies of the noted personalities of that same time period for cross referencing and to incorporate that in my screenplay. And then I write the script organically. And I still use fountain pen to write a script rather than a computer as I prefer the human touch more.
Casting is very intuitive and organic process for me from the scripting stage itself.
How much does your life influences your story telling and the characters that you bring to life ?
To some extent, I try to incorporate my philosophical thoughts in the dialogues. I choose only those stories which is appealing to me personally, which I want to tell in the big screen.
How do you work on yourself to become better in your field learning, observing, reading ?
I am voracious reader. And I watch movies a lot. mainly films based on literatures. That’s the way I continuously upgrade myself.
Filmmaking is team work. Tell us about your team and what sort of pre planning gets done before you decide to make a film. Tough things about making films and what keeps you going despite those tough things ?
I choose my team according to the genre and subjects. If that means repeating someone, I don’t mind. But since I am working in the industry for quite sometime and best of the technicians and actors are all my friends, it’s easy to pick and choose for each individual project. They are all available for me as per my requirements. The kind of film I make, I do all the research, I choose the subject and the story, I write the screenplay, I do the production designing and I also Direct. So it takes longer than usual as I spearhead all these departments all by myself [ I have assistants in production design and directorial department only, and it’s by choice . But I enjoy the entire process. I don’t find it tough. Only the budget and finance factors are stressful for me, not the creative aspects.
Title Of Your New Release
Devi Chowdhurani…Bandit Queen of Bengal
What is the central theme of film ?
I was studying and researching on the Battle of Plassey, Battle of Buxar, The Great Bengal Famine of 1770 and the Sanyasi and Fakir Rebellion which spans across this era. Off course this includes the advent and invasion of the British East India Company in India in it’s early years. Co-incidentally “Anandamath” and “Devi Chowdhurani” by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay are based on the similar timescale where I find the latter is more appealing in terms of a Film. It narrates a journey of a simple village girl who eventually becomes the first Indian woman freedom fighter, historically, against the colonial rule in India in the later part of the 18th century.
I felt this story through my cinematic interpretation would be my humble homage to my Motherland in her 75th year of independence. It also tells the story of the Hindu ascetic monks who had no other option but to take up arms against the British colonial rules to save the country and her people. It was the first armed revolution by the Indians , led by Bhavani Charan Pathak, against the British East India Company. I only had to adapt the storyline into the alternative historical interpretation.
The basic plotline remains the same but almost 80% of the film is closer to the actual history, rather than the novel. It is built on the premise of “what might have actually happened”. Even Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay wrote the novel almost after a 100 year of the original incidents. I had to study extensively from the archives of East India Company in London, several texts and manuscripts from Asiatic society, British Library, Victoria Memorial and Indian Museum.
how many days it took you to shoot ? What locations it has been shot at ?
We have planned for a shoot of close to 60 days. The film will be extensively shoot in various locations across West Bengal named Purulia, Kolkata & Bolpur.
Share your thoughts about production process . Any interesting trivia about its making ?
“Devi Chowdhurani” [ Bandit Queen of Bengal ], gives me the opportunity to get me out of my comfort zone. It is much bigger canvas than my last film, it is actually a part of our lesser known history. After winning my National award for my last film “Avijatrik” [ The Wanderlust of Apu ], I wanted to tell this story, the urge was intense. I wanted to make a very realistic film on this novel and the time period which portrays a plausible historical reconstruction. I am fascinated by the films of similar genre by the master directors such as Akira Kurosawa and Ridley Scott. The seven samurai, Roshomon, Ran, Throne of blood, Gladiator, Robinhood to name a few.
What platforms will the film be released? Date of release?
The film will be released in Autumn 2024 and will be available globally across various leading platform as well as wide theatrical release.
Any other project you are working on ? Some details about the film ?
There are few others but right now my entire concentration is on Devi Chowdhurani. One project at a time.
How do you deal with Negative Feedbacks ? How do you stay balanced with Positive Feedback ?
I am my biggest critic. Despite winning several prestigious international and national awards, including the highest film award from the Government of India, from the President herself, I still consider myself a student. I have achieved only 40% of my full potential. I read and listen to all feedbacks, negative and positive. And then delete all those from my mind. To me film making is a lonesome, organic process.
How did you hear about CarryOnHarry ? Any message for Studio? Any Suggestion that we can make it better?
Heard about it from my friends in Hollywood. You are doing great stuff and pls keep helping independent filmmakers like us to have our voices and creativity heard in mainstream media.