An award-winning filmmaker with over 9 years of experience in Corporate & Documentary filmmaking, Gourav Ghosh, has made over 30 independent short films & documentaries. The number of corporate videos can add up to more than a hundred. Some of his films like “Garbage Island” & ‘Jokkad” are awarded in international film festivals. A Post-Graduate Diploma in Video Editing from Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, Gourav Ghosh has worked with organizations like NDTV, Doordarshan and independently on various political & corporate campaigns.
Gourav Ghosh was the Academic Chairperson (Media) of ISB&M, Pune. He has conducted filmmaking workshops for learners of all levels and different educational backgrounds. This is a unique combination of experience in the film education sector coupled with more than nine years of core background in filmmaking.
As a child what were your early influences towards cinema?
The early influence of cinema can be traced to my love of the comic books. I was (and still am) fascinated by the characters and worlds of comic books and graphic novels. Later, I started noticing colours, frames and patterns of the storytelling in different comic series. Along with comic books, my parents subscribed children magazines that contained stories which captivated me in my early childhood. It also developed a habit of reading for years to come.
How did you first become interested in film editing?
When I was in the std 12th, I planned to make a documentary film on my hometown. I was influenced by the documentary program on the Discovery and National Geographic channels. With the help of 2 of my friends, I shot the documentary. But had no idea about the editing. I couldn’t also arrange the resources (an editor and the editing system) to edit my first documentary. So this was a setback and my confidence in the filmmaking took a backseat for a couple of years. At my second year in Ferguson college, Pune, I got an opportunity to assist one of my seniors in making a short film. This senior was also an editor in a studio where I used to sneak in the night while he was editing. I only watched and never touched the keyboard, after a couple of months I shot my first fiction film, a 2 minutes short film. I edited the film and screened it at my college. After that, I started getting paid & unpaid projects. Ultimately I was selected in FTII for the video editing course and since then I edit every day.
What steps did you take to train yourself?
The best kind of training is working on the job. After passing out from the institute, I launched my own production house and started making documentaries, corporate films, and music videos. Each project came with unique aesthetic and technical challenges, and I banked on the internet heavily to solve all the problems. After the completion of formal education from FTII, I never joined any other course. Although, I consume tutorials, video essays, blogs, and books on daily basis.
Have you assisted anyone? How does it help one?
I’ve assisted Kimico Mehta Director-producer from Kimedia Productions and some other directors in freelance projects. After passing out from FTII, I launched my own production company and I haven’t assisted anyone since. Getting a right mentor is very important and one can learn immensely assisting them. I am open to assisting film producers in their work at this stage of my career.
How did your first film project come about? Tell us something about the experience.
I was in the 2nd year of the college and have already decided to make my career in the filmmaking. I got hold of as 3-CCD handy-cam, and Sony Vegas an editing software from one of my seniors. It was a 2 min film without any dialogue, where a smoker gets scared of a newspaper advertisement about contracting cancer due to smoking. He quits smoking and comes back to his room. He throws his cigarette packet and tries to study, but ultimately in a few hours he succumbs to his urges and takes out the cigarette packets from the dustbins. The film ends with a quote byMark Twain, ” I can quit smoking, I have done that thousand times already.” This was a hit in my friend circle, and I started getting editing projects from my college friends and other contacts.
What are your inspirations?
We are living in an increasingly changing world, where many people are falling behind in terms of technology, culture, business and lifestyle. It is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate in this data driven society of the 21st century. More than ever, ‘poets’ are needed to inform, explain, entertain and motivate. The fact that a filmmaker is a visual poet is my greatest inspiration which makes me contribute to the humanity of my contemporary times.
Is film editing intuitive or is it something you learn?
You can learn anything and everything. Even intuition is the outcome of our interaction with the external world. A beginner film editor needs to learn the machine, the theory and the concepts. After getting exposure to the craft, the film editing will become intuitive.
Do you think the audience is perceptive about an edit? What kind of feedback do you get from non-film maker audience for your work?
In my experience, I’ve seen that a general audience is not at all perceptive about the editing. Most of the feedback from the non-filmmaking audience is about acting and the story.
Your favorite films or editors? At least two of them?
Any hurdles you have encountered in your journey. Things that are blocks in achieving your vision while working on your film.
In today’s age of connectivity, free information and cheap technology, there can be no serious hurdles to make a film. The only obstacle to run a production company is the regular cash flow.
Do you often get all that is in your wish list or is it a hard bargain every time?
Life is a mix of luck and struggle. Sometimes, a huge achievement happens without much efforts. Many a time the sustained efforts do not yeild a result.
Tell us something about your short ‘Nakaar’? What made you make it? Also the treatment is very interesting, and the illustrated feel reminds me of ‘A Scanner Darkly’.
I’ve not seen the film ‘A Scanner Darkly’ but now I’ll see it. The lockdown in the summer of 2020 was scary and harsh to all of us. Criminal activities, domestic abuses, and disconnect leading to the feelings of rejection were the highlights of this time. The instances mentioned in the film; whether parents refusing their children to come back or inhuman organ trade, were the disturbing thoughts in my head. I pondered my activities too, where I removed people from WhatsApp groups and stopped talking to some. I tried to feel that moment from the other persons’ side, the illustrated look along with the slower fame rate is to establish to the dark mood of the lockdown period.
What is in the kitty now?
I’m making an environmental documentary film for an international YouTube channel.
Any advice to the inspiring editors?
If anything goes wrong in a film, it is the editor’s mistake. The editor has the power to correct the bad acting, bad cinematography and bad production. A badly shot film can also be edited well in order to engage the audience.
Any memorable blunders?
Refusing 50 lakhs from a producer to make a feature film.
Your dream project?
I’ve made a short film and written a feature screenplay called Detective Dighe. A private detective who takes up regular cases of theft and cheating, fumbles on a big conspiracy involving medical trials.
Who would you like to take out for dinner?
Megan Ellison, CEO of Annapurna films.
What are you listening to right now? And the most recent book? And Movie?
I’m listening to EDM artist Kygo a lot lately. Currently, I’m reading a book The Hidden Half, a non-fiction book by Micheal Blastland.
I’m trying to finish Vikings Season 6 on Netflix.
Gaurav’s work can be seen here on his website.