Suruchi Gupta

Kolkata, Oct. 5 -- A number of city students have taken filmmaking seriously and are tasting success Most teenagers love watching movies. Some prefer Bollywood masala while others look West. But there are quite a few who are keen to make their own films. They will pick up any tool, a handycam or even a mobile phone, to tell their stories.

From depicting schizophrenia and psychological disorders to documenting Kalighat and Kolkata's street dancers, these youngsters have made documentaries and feature films on various subjects. A number of these films have been screened at festivals and even won awards.

"I was very young when I saw Kaho Na Pyar Hai but I was more interested in Rakesh Roshan's camera movement than his son's dance skills," says 17-yearold Priyankar Patra, student of Garden High School. During his school vacation last year Priyankar made his first, an eight-minute film, The Reason, on subject of schizophrenia using a Nikon Coolpix camera. His second, a documentary on streetdancers could not be completed. "This year, between May and July, we made a 12-minute film, The Broken Nest. It's a fiction based on the journey of a boy I have watched for years. It shows how a beggar becomes a thief," says Priyankar. Enthused by the reviews, Priyankar is thinking of sending the film to Chitrabani Film Festival.

The same encouragement led 21-yearold Saptaswa Basu to make I Witness, a four-minute psychological thriller, when he was 18. "My parents wanted me to pursue engineering. But ever since I Witness was screened at Kolkata Film Festival, my parents have been supportive," says Saptaswa.

Saptaswa has made four more films, including The Forlorn, for which he directed Soumitra Chatterjee and Saswata Chatterjee. "I felt proud to see Saswata receiving the best supporting actor award for my film at the Imphal International Short Film Festival." Saptaswa's next project, The Oasis, will feature Rajatava Dutta and Mir. Without much training in filmmaking, Saptaswa is putting his heart into studying as well. It will be an option in case films don't work out. "But if all goes well I want to release

The Oasis and The forlorn on DVD," he says. Twenty-year-old Binit Ranjan Moitra is however convinced that he can make it. A student of mass communication and videography, Binit started making short films when he was in high school. A student of acclaimed violinist Abraham Mazumder, he has also made the background score for Koyekti Meyer Golpo and is working on the score for Jole

Jongole starring Mithun Chakraborty. "I am working on the script, music and direction for my next project - Parineeta. It will be a modern adaptation of Sarat Chandra's famous novel. It will be a full length feature film," says Binit, son of famous film editor Rabi Ranjan Moitra.

Finance is a scarce and shooting equipment is sourced from parents and friends in most cases. "What we make are no-budget films," says Saptaswa. Some youths have uploaded their films on YouTube to get feedback from people. But not all of them believe in the Internet platform. "Only trailers of my films can be seen on YouTube," says Sangbit Samaddar, 22, student of comparative literature at Jadavpur University. Having made his first short film, Isolation, four years ago, he making documentaries on Kolkata. "After Grey Blues, made on Ahiritala Ghat, I did a 150-minute documentary on Kalighat. The third is on trams. I am also working on my autobiographical film Madhushala. It takes a lot of courage to do this, trust me," says Sangbit with a nervous laughter.

For these students, a life spent in making films is a dream. "I want to be a cinematographer. Filming is a better option than studying. I made my first film when I was suspended for 14 days from school for forging a letter," says Tiyash Sen, 19, a student of St Xavier's College. His first serious film happened in college. "It was a bandh in February. Forced to stay at home we shot a four-minute film, Eka-ki. It was shown at a festival in Portugal, won the first prize at our college festival and got officially selected for Kerala International Film Festival," says Tiyash.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.