Filmmaker Arindam Barooah hails from Duliajan, Assam and has done his schooling and graduated in Engineering from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Duliajan and Gauhati University, respectively. When he was a child, he developed a craze for watching films.
At that point in time, he didn’t have any interest in opting for filmmaking as a career option. Gradually, as time passed, his fondness turned into interest.
According to him, filmmaking is not glamour, it’s actually a learning platform for many others like him without having any financial support. In 2015, he started transforming his dream of being a filmmaker into a reality when he shot his first short movie, "Eti Notun Prabhat" (A New Dawn), based on Love and Sacrifice. It was a turning point for him indeed, and that is how the journey started.
I recently spoke with the young filmmaker regarding his debut feature film, Panisokori (In the Swirls, 2021). The film was part of the NFDC Film Bazaar’s Viewing Room.
Dipankar Sarkar: You have also done a course in film appreciation from FTII, Pune. Was it beneficial?
Arindam Barooah: I believe films are not only a practical medium. But there's a whole lot of theory involved in it, be it art, history, literature, or science, and in film school, you are exposed to the theory aspect of it, which is equally very important to understanding the aesthetics and composition of a film. You also get to learn about each and every department or stage of filmmaking, be it editing, scripting, direction, sound, production, marketing, exhibition, etc. in detail. And during the course at FTII, I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to get exposed to all those things that are required for making a film. It did help me to form a strong and deep foundation regarding my knowledge of films. Hence, I would definitely say it was beneficial and worth it.
Dipankar Sarkar: What attracted you to the story by Kshipra Kalpa Gogoi that you decided to adapt for your debut feature film, Panisokori?
Arindam Barooah: The Assamese story Bhogowanor Xomadhi (God's Grave) by Kshipra Kalpa Gogoi is interesting yet subtle. The simplicity and the grip of the social milieu, which is relevant and prevalent in today's time, are etched in my heart, and my attempt to bring it out to the world is real, honest, and rooted amid a social milieu. Hence, the idea of transforming it into visuals came into being.
Dipankar Sarkar: How long was the entire process of making the film?
Arindam Barooah: The pre-production took almost 3 months, production took just 12 days, and post-production took around 5 months.
Dipankar Sarkar: Tell us about the casting of the film.
Arindam Barooah: During my visit to a village in Upper Assam, Rohmoriya, I came across a family of four members who are blinded by superstitions. I believe their surroundings and experiences are the best sources of stories. Moreover, I believe that film is not only about entertainment; it is also about empowerment, enlightenment, and creating awareness. Besides, I read the short story a few days ago before visiting the village.
I instantly visualised that the story might take its audio-visual shape as a fictional narrative imparting a sensitive issue with the same family and a few people from the same village. We chose to make it in the 'Matak' language, as I believe language has no barriers. It transcends cultures and identities. Furthermore, they were comfortable with their own language as they were not trained or experienced actors.
Dipankar Sarkar: Most of the scenes in the film are captured in long, uninterrupted shots. What was the reason behind the creative choice?
Arindam Barooah: I have always been attracted to the slow pace of a narrative, long takes, and long shots. I believe it keeps on conveying subtle, detailed things that close cuts cannot convey. Such shots also have a deep impact on the space and time of the film. It gives the audience a lot of imagery to unpack and transports us into the minds of the characters.
Dipankar Sarkar: The sync sound in the film adds authenticity to the aural space of the film. Share your experience of working with Rukmajit Baruah.
Arindam Barooah: Rukma, whom I fondly call him, is a very sincere, dedicated, and hard-working person. He is amazing at what he does and is a very knowledgeable person. His friendly nature with everyone makes us fond of him. He is skilled in his profession, with a profound understanding of the use of sound in cinema.
Dipankar Sarkar: What are your current plans for the release of the film?
Arindam Barooah: Currently, the film is doing the festival rounds. At the same time, I am looking for distributors, buyers, and sales agents. It might take a longer time for release, either theatrically or on OTT platforms.
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