Odia filmmaker and National Award winner for cinematography, Amartya Bhattacharyya’s second feature film ‘Khyanikaa – The Lost Idea’ was the only Odia film in the Indian Panorama section of the 48th International Film Festival of India 2017. Khyanikaa was also premiered at Hidden Gems Film Festival in Canada. In conversation with the filmmaker, NT BUZZ finds out more
RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT BUZZ
- There are a very few independent feature films made in Odisha and ‘Khyanikaa’ is the only Odiya film in the Indian Panorama for IFFI this year. Tell us more about the filmmaking scene in Odisha.
Well, the filmmaking scene in Odisha is not very bright at this point of time. Although there were some excellent filmmakers and geniuses from Odisha such as Sushant Mishra, Manmohan Mahapatra, Nirad Mohapatra, the current state is not very good. This is because from all the films that are made, most of them are commercial films and the market has not really opened up to accept alternate cinema. There are not enough independent voices coming up from Odisha so that is a concern but he is sure that they will be able to cope very fast and in a very short time people will see a lot of Odiya films getting into the national and international arena.
- You call your films ‘psychodramas’. What draws your interests to such subjects?
I do call my films ‘psychodramas’ because when you talk about the characters and events that happen, every film tries to capture the physicality of things. Physicality here is to do with what is happening, who is moving around. A character is defined by the physical actions that they do but I am discarding that; I will define a character by the psychoanalytic traits. I will psychoanalyse the trait and make the character a representation of his/her mind, not the body. I am calling it a psychodrama because it is a psychological drama and everything that is happening in the film is happening inside the mind of the actors, the body of the actor is not performing. So it is a complete anti-conventional approach towards filmmaking where people are more concerned about physical beings and a very concrete way of looking at things at every scene, action, characterisation. I am discarding all of those concepts and bringing in metaphors, idioms and psychoanalytical aspects to define a character which is very unique.
- Can you tell us more about ‘Khyanikaa’? Were there too many expectations after your first film Capital I?
Yes, there were expectations from certain quarters because my films have really not reached the masses. But wherever it has reached it has got some critical acclaim and I am very happy about that. So yes, there were certain expectations and I hope I have lived up to them. ‘Khyanikaa – The Lost Idea’ is a very different film from ‘Capital I’ because it was a very dark and disturbing film. Khyanikaa is a very beautiful and soothing film.
- Any filmmakers/films that have inspired or influenced your work?
No. I love a lot of filmmakers like Luis Buñuel, Kim Ki-duk and from India I love Satyajit Ray, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Buddhadeb Dasgupta; but I have not been influenced or inspired by any of them because I started making good serious films before I had watched any of their films. So I started making films in 2012 and only after 2014 or 2015 I started exploring works of world cinema. Therefore, I cannot say that I have been inspired by them. I have been inspired by life circumstances and all the social, economical pressures that really try to choke our voice.
- You are also the author of two Bengali books. Tell us something about your books?
I have written two books but they failed in the commercial market, again they were critically very successful. Some people loved it but it was not read by many people and I was very disheartened. But I would have never made a film had my books been successful. So it is a blessing, not a curse that my books failed to reach the masses. My books were on poetry – specifically on death, depression, loneliness and certain dark subjects and that did not appeal to the common people because they always think that poems are meant to be soothing, melodious, romantic; and because I am discarding all of them and I am trying to bring forth something which is of deeper substance, that is not acceptable to the masses. I have over 3000 unpublished poems. If you watch my films, all my films have a strong poetic sense and a lot of poetry in them. One of my short films called ‘Boba Mukhosh’ is a complete poem. I am actually playing tricks on the mind of people who do not want to read my poems; I am giving them same tonic through a different medium that is films.
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