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Soumik Mukherjee : Cinematography

Soumik Mukherjee Cinematographer

A film studies graduate from St. Xaviers, Kolkata, Soumik Mukherjee went to the Film & Television Institute of India, Pune to specialize in cinematography. He started assisting DoPs on films like “Ship of Theseus”, while in the institute. After passing out of FTII, he furthered his craft by becoming the associate cinematographer on a number of hindi films, viz., “Dedh Ishqiya”, “Katti Batti”, etc. This was when he got associated with Nikkhil Advani and was offered to shoot the finite series on Star Plus, “POW – Bandi Yuddh Ke”. He has also shot a number of award winning short films and TVCs. Soumik shot an independent feature film that premiered in MAMI this year called “Maroon”.

As a child what were your early influences towards cinema?
Like most average middle class child in India, I watched a fair share of movies in my childhood. But luckily my parents, especially my mother made me watch the classics. Along with the mainstream english, hindi and bengali films I also grew up on Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen, Satyajit Ray, Tapan Sinha, etc.

How did you first become interested in cinematography? Did you start with photography?
In my Mass Communication course in college, we had a paper on ‘Camera & Lighting’. I was very fascinated with camera movements and lighting. I found it more challenging than any the other aspect of filmmaking that was taught to us in college. Also during college I had started working as a part time assistant director in an AD production house, where I learned the basics of filmmaking. Since I was an AD, I was not allowed to touch the cameras during these shoots; which in turn increased my curiosity about it.

I was introduced to videography before I was introduced to photography. I had borrowed my uncle’s Pentax K1000 towards the end of college to practise photography.

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Dhiraj Meshram : In a chat with a Director

dhiraj portrait

Dhiraj Meshram

As a child what were your early influences towards cinema? Art, literature, graphics, photography?
Influences were Hindi films running in cinema halls of my town or villages where I used to go during school vacations.  One film use to run for many weeks unlike nowadays. The films that I liked, I used to watch many times until I knew them by heart.

How did you first become interested in film direction?
I guess it was a gradual progression from being an avid cinegoer who used to watch the films as a child does- as stories, drama, action etc which gradually changed into preference for films with a specific starcast and then to want to tell these stories myself so that was the beginning of being interested in Film Direction. It happened automatically, there was no conscious effort. I think weekly cinema magazines in Hindi were a huge attraction in small towns, one read them cover to cover. And even collected them Apart from writing about film stars, they wrote about film directors too.

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Nilanjan Datta : In a chat with an Editor – Director

Nilanjan Profile

Nilanjan Datta

Nilanjan Datta is a graduate of Film Editing from Film & Television Institute of India, Pune. Before making `The Head Hunter’, his first feature film, Nilanjan has made short fiction films and documentary films. He has also been awarded the National Award for his documentary film ‘Bhanga Gara’ in the year 2009. Nilanjan was born in Assam and grew up in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. `The Head Hunter’ was part of Mumbai International Film festival and Indian Panorama at the 46th International Film festival of India, and Canada International Film Festival, Vancouver. He received Special Jury Mention for Best Debut Direction at the 25th Aravindan Purushkaram, Kerela and Special Jury mention at the 11th Prag Cine Awards, Assam. He has been awarded the National film Award for “The Head Hunter” this year. Presently he is an Associate Professor of film editing at FTII, Pune.

As a child what were your early influences towards cinema? Art, literature, graphics, photography?
Cinema happened in my life pretty early. My father is a film buff and from a very early age, I started to watch films with him. And he introduced me to Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara, which is also one of his favorite films.
My uncle was the first press photographer of Assam and had a photo studio, where I used to learn how to develop and print black and white photographs. The magic of image appearing in the printing paper inside a dark room used to fascinate me. He was also a theater and cinema buff and influenced me in my childhood.
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Shounok Ghosh : In a chat with a film Editor

profile pix

Shounok was born and brought up in Kolkata. Did his post graduation from Delhi and then studied in FTII Pune, TV EDITING, 2004-2005.

As a child what were your early influences towards cinema? Art, literature, graphics, photography?
I come from an upper middle class Bengali family from Kolkata, so art and literature was always a part of growing up. Though watching films was a strict no, my parents always encouraged me to read a lot of storybooks and listen to Rabindra Sangeet and a lot of heavy classical music.

My father being a lawyer and mother professor, there was always a pressure to put more stress on academics and education.
As far as I recall, my introduction and early influences towards cinema, came from my grandmother, who would take me and my elder brother to watch films in theatre in afternoons, to kill time, as both my parents were working and it used to be an uphill task for her to manage us (I was very naughty as a kid). There used to be this theater in central Kolkata, called “Talkie Show House”, and that’s where she used to take us.

Apart from that, as I was growing up, my elder brother used to sometimes take me to theatres and also he would talk about films, obviously all these in a very clandestine manner, ensuring that my parents would never have a clue.

Naturally I started following him blindly -all his favorite films, film stars ,his idols, his favourite music, food and books and thus began my own journey through all of these.

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Ramachandra PN : In a Chat With a Film Director

Ramchandra PN - Director

Ramchandra PN is a 1991 ‘Screenplay writing and Direction’ graduate from the ‘Film and TV Institute of India’.  Over the years, he has been making documentaries, features, short films and TV programs. His first feature film SUDDHA (The Cleansing Rites) in Tulu language won him the Best Indian Film at the Osian Cinefan Festival of Asian Films, New Delhi Indian 2006. It also won him a Hubert Bals exhibition grant in the following year, through which he showed the film at over hundred Tulu speaking villages in Coastal Karnataka South India. His second feature film PUTAANI PARTY (The Kid Gang) in Kannada language won the Best Children’s film at the Indian National Film Awards in 2009. It was also in consideration for nomination for the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. His third feature HAAL-E-KANGAAL (The Bankrupts) in Hindi language is making its screening rounds. He is also occasionally involved in film academics, conducting film workshops in various institutions.

As a child what were your early influences towards cinema? Art, literature, graphics, photography?
Like most children growing up in the 1970s in any small town Karnataka, I was a die hard fan of the Kannada super star Dr Rajkumar. Later on, one shifted allegiance to the angry young man of Hindi films, Amithab Bachchan- after getting star struck by some of his films like Don, Amar Akbar Antony and Parvarish. I don’t think there was any inclination serious towards cinema, during childhood.

How did you first become interested in film direction?
It was in college that I got involved in Kannada theater; as an actor first and then in back stage and direction. I also took a liking to still photography, thanks to a Pentax camera that was gifted to me by a relative. It surprised me when my guru in theater told me that there are schools in India that teach film direction. By the time I finished my degree, I was pretty sure that I needed to be a film director.

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The Train Leaves At Four

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  • ‘The train leaves at four’ is a docu-fiction film of about 55 minutes. The film was shot with a family belonging to the ‘Baiga’ tribe, living in remote Madhya Pradesh, adjusting to “development” and will provide important insight into the question: YE KISKA DEVELOPMENT HO RAHA HAI AAKHIR KAAR?As Lamu packs his sack to migrate towards the city to work along with the labour contractor, his aging mother grieves in silence. Even her other two sons are not around to console her.

    While the eldest is working on the field, the youngest has set out early this morning towards the government office. He hopes to be employed in the village itself. Those hopes are soon shattered though and he is left overwhelmed. Much of what goes on in the government office – the official paperwork, the government schemes is lost in translation.

    By the evening, as Lamu waits for the train to arrive, the contractor’s condescending attitude and stinginess already makes it clear that he has signed up for a disaster, but it is too late for him to go back.

    Meanwhile, crestfallen and influenced by his brother, the youngest son too confronts his mother and expresses a desire to leave for the city.



Vatsala Goel : Cinematography

Vatsala Goel 01

Vatsala Goel is a film cinematographer and an alumnus of The Film & Television Institute of India  (Batch of 2009, dialogue and diploma films as cinematographer are “Virag” and  “Chaita ki ek Dupahari” ). She is from Calcutta, completed her graduation in B.A. English Hons from St. Xavier’s College, Calcutta University and served as the Photo Researcher at Forbes India Magazine in Mumbai before joining FTII in 2010. Her first feature film, a documentary named Train Chaar Baje Ki Hai/ The Train Leaves at Four” recently screened at the 17th MAMI Film Festival in Mumbai, and will be screening at the 21st Kolkata Film Festival on Nov 18th. The film has also made it to NFDC Film Bazaar’s recommended list of films in 2015. All her projects have travelled successfully to multiple film festivals such as the IFFI, Goa, IDSFF, Kerela, Clapstick, Kolkata, NSFA, IDPA, IFFLA and more. Currently she is based out of San Francisco, but actively looking to shoot feature projects in India. This is her website and IMDB Page.

As a child what were your early influences towards cinema?
Both my parents are artists and so I was exposed to a variety of art from around the world and different mediums from an early age. We also have a great library of art catalogues and books at home, and so occasionally we’d spend weekends browsing these together. I guess that was my earliest exposure to image-making.
At home we watched Doordarshan classics on our small color TV. But when cable TV came in, we got sucked into it so much so that my father had to cut off the subscription! In those TV-less years, I turned to comic books such as Tintin, Asterix and Tinkle for lunch and dinner time entertainment.
I believe it was the sense of frame-by-frame motion captured in them that somewhere planted the germ of film making in me.

In college I wanted to keep away from rote learning so I took Film Studies along with English literature. Together they really nurtured my sense of storytelling through images and words.

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Sony PXW FS5 : Affordable S35mm 4k


PXW-FS5 handheld Super35 4K camera

The new Sony FS5 is a Super 35mm size sensor camera that’s handheld and outputs 4K. uture plans are to offer raw recording as well. It allows you to shoot HD at 240 fps and reduced resolutions at 960 fps. You can get the Sony 18-105mm E-mount Servo Zoom for smooth zooms at a constant aperture of F4. It also supports built-in wireless streaming.

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Arindam Ghatak : Interview with a Film Editor


Arindam Ghatak is a film editor who graduated from FTII in 2006 (diploma films as editor- Chabi Wali Pocket Watch and On My Deathbed). He is from Kolkata, did his graduation in Psychology from Fergusson College, Pune after quitting his engineering course, after which he worked as a journalist with the Indian Express, Pune for a little more than a year before joining FTII in 2002. He has edited films like Rocket Singh, Salesman of the Year, Go Goa Gone, Happy Ending, Guddu Rangeela, Tanuja Chandra’s yet un-released Raakh, among others. He has also edited several documentaries like Urmi Juvekar’s Shillong Chamber Choir and the Little Home School, Surabhi Sharma’s Pregnancy, Prescriptions and Protocol, Altaf Mazid’s A Duet With the Water God (it won a national award), Parasher Baruah’s Waste and several others, as also Neha Choksi’s Leaf fall, Aftermath, Iceboat, Found Green for video installations. Currently, he is based in Mumbai…

As a child what were your early influences towards cinema? Art, literature, graphics, photography?

I don’t think I had one particular influence as a child, nothing specific that I can remember. In fact, I don’t think it was the ‘arts’ at all. That happened much later. In fact, films were pretty much a forbidden zone at home. My mother was very strict and a lot of emphasis was laid on academics and I was a good student. But on the other hand, she took my sister and me to watch films like Superman and Born Free and ABBA and Goopy Gayne Bagha Bayne and 20,000 Leagues under the sea when they released in the theatres. Bollywood and film magazines were forbidden but my aunts (it was a sort of a joint family till a few years after my grandfather passed away) loved filmy gossip and Stardust, Filmfare, Star n Style etc were always lurking around in some corner of the house which I would quietly sneak up and read sometimes when my mother would be away at work.

I also liked to read books and comics but it was random stuff- Enid Blyton, Archies, maybe a classic here, a Sidney Sheldon there. But I was a day dreamer and spent hours in the afternoon in our lovely verandah (The verandah was on the first floor of a two story house. It was quite big, especially in length, had a lot of light streaming in, a huge krishnachura (gulmohar) tree literally leaning against it. Neither the verandah exists anymore nor the tree.) staring out into the street (a little bylane in south Calcutta), sometimes reading, sometimes jumping through my skipping rope and soaking in that afternoon light on holidays. I can almost feel that light. I think impressions like these are what drew me to cinema and I have strong impressions stored somewhere within me from almost every moment of my life. Art, Literature, photography, music, cinema itself happened to me much later when I moved to Pune at 17 to study engineering. I spent ten years in Pune and that changed my world- the people I met, the life I lived, the films, books, music  I was exposed to, my love affairs, working as a journalist at the Indian Express, studying at FTII, living in hostels- I think I ‘grew up’ in Pune, a late bloomer!!…

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In a chat with CK Muraleedharan

CK Muraleedharan’s IMDB profile is here. He has shot movies like Johnny Gaddar, Agent Vinod, Munna Bhai MBBS etc.
This informal chat was shot and edited by Monet Kanti Saha.

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