In Conversation with Sudipto Acharyya

In Conversation with Sudipto Acharyya

Sudipto Acharyya has studied cinema at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune, with specialisation in Direction and Screenplay Writing. He has completed his MA in Film Studies from Jadavpur University, Kolkata. His Diploma film Harbour Line was part of No Masala Touring Film Festival in Germany. It was exhibited at the Asia-Europe Short Film Festival 2007, Washington DC, organised by the Indian Embassy.

His first independent production is Weekend Chill, a crowd-funded digital film. He has directed several short films and one feature length film for television and other institutions.

Sudipto has had a long engagement with teaching Cinema in various institutions like FTIISatyajit Ray Film & Television InstituteRoopkala KendroKolkata Film & Television Institute, and Centre for Theatre and Film at University of Allahabad. He is currently a senior faculty member and the Head of Affiliations –– Short Course Unit at Whistling Woods International, Mumbai. His workshops on Film Appreciation, Documentary History: Ethics and Aesthetics, and Short Film Screenplay Writing are well attended by film students across the country.

His recent academic papers have been published in several international scientific journals on Cinema and were invited to conferences at film schools like Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, VilniusFaculty of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities at Kaunas University of TechnologyNanyang Technological University, SingaporeDodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman Universitythe University of Witwatersrand University, Johannesburg, and Istanbul Bilgi University.

He is part of an Artistic Research project involving BRICS nations that looks at social interstices with the help of cinematic practices.

Sudipto Acharyya served as Head of Jury, International and National Feature Film Competition, at Nepal International Film Festival, Kathmandu, in March-April 2022 and then as Jury-Chairman for the 5th South Asian Short Film Festival at Kolkata in August 2022.

Bare Bones Publishing is delighted to welcome Sudipto to its Advisory Board. We interviewed him for our readers.

One of my early experiences that made me realise the power of language was through cinema, both artistic and mainstream ones. To give one significant example, in Ritwik Ghatak’s epic melodrama Meghe Dhaka Tara (Cloud Capped Star, 1960) the protagonist Neeta in a critical moment witnesses a rupture that has the weight of a lifetime’s oppression and denial. She screams, “Brother, I too wanted to live!” Such a banal thing to say and yet it becomes extraordinarily etched forever in our memory. The spoken words remind us of something  that we take for granted but is denied in Neeta’s case. The existential force of these spoken words is unbearable.

Such encounters make us recognise the power of language.

But even before cinema, my childhood readings of Sukumar Ray’s Abol Tabol and HaJaBaRaLa immensely provoked my imagination as a ten-year-old boy, its attraction never fading away even at the threshold of youth. And today I feel its relevance all over again, in such a disjointed time when nonsense makes the most sense. 

There are not one but many such favourite books that have not got their due from its readers or in the form of official recognition. Paraja by Gopinath Mohanty is a modernist highpoint of Indian literature and looks at the inherent lyricism of tribal life and its long exploitation.

Similarly, Aag Ka Darya by Qurratulain Hyder imagines a 2000-year-old Indian history through the fates of four characters whose lives crisscross. 

If I had to do something differently as a child or teenager, I would start writing diaries as observations of my quotidian life, recording my thoughts, confusion, desires, disappointments, and so on. It could become a device to locate fiction in the self and also introduce me to the challenges of representing what I feel, quite early on.


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