If you extend reality, you discover the magic of the unreal: Buddhadeb Dasgupta at IFFK

There are few filmmakers who evoke as much admiration among film craftsmen as director Buddhadeb Dasgupta. With his latest film, Urojahaaj (2018) screening at the 23rd International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), Dasgupta attended the Tagore auditorium venue for a conversation with director Kamal K M. Speaking to a gathered audience of film lovers, Dasgupta said of his films, “Reality for me is very boring. Very repititive and predictable. But if you extend reality, then you can discover the magic of the unreal.” 

The director of Bagh Bahadur (1989), Dasgupta compared his films to the Latin American literature of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Umberto Eco. Rich in images, allegory, and studded with layers of themes, Dasgupta’s films have often taken flights of fantasy from their realistic foundations. The director stated that this was a craft developed from his childhood. 

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“My father being a railway doctor was often posted in places where there was no electricity. We would finish our dinner by 7.30pm, and then recite poems. The magic started happening at that moment when he would say, ‘Close your eyes'”, he said, adding, “I would close my eyes and listened to music, and started seeing images. Those are very, very personal images. After some time, when I started college, I had fallen for painting. I used to visit galleries regularly, and witness the magic.

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As he entered college, Dasgupta fell for painting and poetry, which further inspired him to quit his post as an economics professor to take up filmmaking.

“I gave up my profession as an economics teacher and started making films, but I’ve never given up my poetry,” he emphatically stated.

Asked for advice on filmmaking, the director focused on these very elements, “Knowing the craft of cinema is easy, it doesn’t take more than 6 months to learn the basics. But to know the images, must read poetry. You don’t need to write poetry or be a painter. But go to a gallery. Listen to music. To find out, to discover is the only way.”

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The event was also attended by IFFK deputy director H Shaji, and artistic director Bina Paul, who accompanied Dasgupta as he took the stage. The filmmaker also attended the screening of his film, Urojahaaj, later in the evening at the Kripa Theatre in Trivandrum.

The International Film Festival of Kerala is being held from 7 to 14 December 2018 in Trivandrum.