Sougata Bhattacharjee was the co-cinematographer of Aneek Chaudhuri in Streer Potro.
I am Sougata Bhattacharjee and here, I am about to say a few words about my work.
The film ‘Streer Potro’ is very special for me. Aneek and me are great admirers of Rabindranath Tagore and Salvador Dali, the film is dedicated to them. Different form of art is involved with cinema and it is itself an art form. So I think that’s the medium where Tagore and Dali can share a stage. That’s why cinematography of the film was very challenging as the film is partly based on the story of Rabindranath Tagore in the modern time and also inspired by Dali. We completed shooting of the film in a very busy schedule and tried to give our best. So it is just the beginning of a new chapter for me but the prologue of my story was not very easy and smooth.
I was born at a small village of Birbhum. There was a solitary peaceful world of mine on the lap of nature. So I had many things to observe, to heal my eyes and soul. I believe those unconscious memories of childhood somehow unknowingly helps me in cinematography and I feel lucky that I was born in a village.
Then I came to Kolkata for study. There are so many private institutions for students. They promise a dozen like a political leader before the election to attract. The institution don’t think something different and creative, they just try to make produce so called smart handsome and educated students, good in communication skills and very formal like the corporate world who will also butter or adulate them for placement. It is nothing but a dishonest business on the name of education. We are not into corporate world so we should not be a parrot or a mannequin like them. There must be a difference. But the difference was not so small to ignore. I was bad at communication, lil bit introvert and used to stay alone in solidity, sometimes I love it sometimes but I hate it too. Although, I used to listen to and observe people or things around me. So I chose the art medium of cinematography and sometimes I draw some abstract sketches. There are no rivalry between these two mediums, in fact one helps the other and there are no need to speak directly in those medium, my work should speak a thousand words for me.
But after I finished my course I was struggling here. I was trying to build up contacts as I had no godfather in Kolkata, only had some friends who were also struggling. Many of them were leaving Kolkata as you know there are less opportunity in Kolkata than other metro cities of India. It feels really bad when people tell you it’s very hard for a fresher in Kolkata. All those drama of guild and sometimes fresher is not even paid event after working hard. So that is not very professional. Meanwhile I had a job offer from a production company based in New Delhi for the post of cinematographer. My friend Kalpataru and Avishek were there and they were very helpful, so I went there. It was a good job for any cinematographer. We used to travel a lot during shooting and experiment with the new cameras and equipments. But after they left the office I faced some really bad office politics with my junior colleagues and the behavior of some people of Delhi are very different. I realized how much united India is and the long history of neglecting eastern and north-eastern India. However I also realized that no one in that production house was passionate about documentary or fiction. Though they did some documentaries in past but it was just because of profit not out of passion. So I left the job and decided to come back to Kolkata even after knowing its again going to be a struggle. One of the rare good memory of Delhi was I met with a very passionate film maker Rajnees, from Ranchi. He had also left his job. Before coming back to Kolkata we did a documentary on famous Kathputli colony of Delhi associated with a production house based in Mumbai.
So I was back to Kolkata. There is something unique about the city, that is better to feel than telling it and tougher to forget than remembering. I was again trying to contact with people. I got to contact Abhirup da(Sen) of KMDB, he was very helpful to post about me through the virtual portal. Then I received a call from Aneek and I was keen to work on ‘Streer Potro’. We finally did it and now it’s time to get your feedback and move ahead to struggle more, work more. The struggle should be always on till the last breath.