Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Bengali Filmmaker Indranil Banerjee shares his experience of making India’s first horror mini-series

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The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. So, is the journey of Bengali filmmaker Indranil Banerjee. Indranil’s filmmaking dream has come true with the proper execution of his plans and his faith in himself. Recently, his “4 Shades of Leap” has received immense appreciation from the audience and has become India’s first horror mini-series. We got a golden opportunity to interview Indranil and know about his journey till now. So, let us see what he told us.

Indranil shared that filmmaking always attracted him. He learned filmmaking from some of the world-best filmmakers and learned different tactics and styles. He has been an assistant director for many Bengali daily soaps and a few feature films. His first directorial “THE CHASE” in  2015 was shot on a basic DSLR camera and phone camera.

I started doing photography and slowly started learning about film and camera. The Chase is a five minutes silent film, that gave me distribution from Amazon Prime USA, 7 prestigious awards, 26 worldwide official selections and screenings. NDTV prime time telecast from pocket films selection, and many more.

He recalls that the year 2016, was one of the changing years of his career. He received a scholarship from New York Film Academy(NYFA). Then, he launched his own production house “UNITY Pictures”. He has made around 6 short films and received 70 awards worldwide. Indranil says,

“Tied up with Amazon Prime USA, Apple TV USA, Pantaflix, MX Player India, and more distributions from France and Italy. Also started doing ads for welfare wellness brands and restaurants. Apart from filmmaking, I am honorable JURY At Los Angeles Cenefest, Hollywood International Film Festival & Seattle International Film Festival.”

Indranil On His Film

While discussing his experience of making a horror film, Indranil said that he does not like the genre -“Horror”. His interest more lies in the Thriller and Comedy genres. But, with the advice of his cinematographer Tuhin, he started researching true incidents of paranormal activities. Also, talked with the witnesses. The main reason for making the mini-series was “Ghost Stories”. Indranil mentioned that he was very disappointed with one of his favorite directors from Bollywood, who made ‘’GHOST STORIES’’. He did not like the concept and did not expect it from a well-known director of Bollywood.

“Then I planned on, how can I shake the world by making 5 minutes series which consist of 4 episodes with a Bengali essence in a horror mini-series in 4 different stories based on real incidents. I called my team and as usual, it began. Happy to say it’s trending worldwide and getting critical acclaim from leading media and critics. I got a superb response from the MX Player audience and Amazon Prime USA.

Indranil shared that his inspiration for filmmaking came from watching movies like Toy Story, Jurassic Park, Satyajit Ray’s Gupi Gyan Bagha Byan, and James Cameron’s epic film Titanic. He derives his inspiration for filmmaking from Satyajit Ray, Steven Spielberg, and Francis Ford Coppola. Also, he thanked his sister for supporting him throughout.

“I recall how as a kid, I use to cry Jack died, imagined myself proposing several times to Rose and talked with my friends at school about why my mom had to close my eyes at the theatre in several scenes of the film. It was movies that excited me at such a young age, and that captivation for filmmaking continued when I grew up.

Filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino inspired me to learn storytelling through camera tactics, while Satyajit Ray taught me how characters can come to life and music can elevate each story. Lastly, my sister Indrani Banerjee is also a great inspiration in my life. She helped me in my toughest days.”

Talking about the challenges he has faced in his career so far, Indranil said that he is a firm believer in Buddha. So, in his filmmaking career, he learned that he will not grow when things are easy. But will grow when life will throw challenges in front of him.

“I have learned I will not grow when things are easy. Like getting good payment as assistant director and doing nothing as a creative person. But, when I will face challenges in life like quitting the assistant director career and getting a scholarship at New York Film Academy. Also, making films, scoring top, coming back from USA and making one short film after another, and making my own production house. So, I  suddenly discovered that according to Buddha ‘’Karma’s Bus Arrives At Correct Time’’.

Advertisements and Films

Indranil has also made some successful advertisements. So, he told that filmmaking is completely different from advertisement making. A film is very easy to make than an advertisement. An advertisement needs to be much more crisp, smooth, and to the point. They should convey the purpose in 20 seconds. Sharing his experience of making ad films he says,

“I just started. All I can say after doing successful commercial ads is I am extremely happy. Because when you see millions of people watching your ad on TV, your concept and your creativity, me and my team feel awesome after several sleepless nights of shoots and hard work”

Moreover, he also talked about creating web series, and short films, and their process. Indranil mentioned that filmmaking requires a team of great members on board as well as proper knowledge of how things work. Therefore, in his case, he did not wait for anyone to join his team. Rather he applied all the learning from Youtube of editing, cinematography, and storyboarding on his first short film.

“As a filmmaker if someone does not have a proper editing sense, camera knowledge and most importantly writing ability or scripting knowledge, how can he direct and be special from other directors?

When asked about the OTT platform taking the center stage and the democratization of filmmaking, Indranil quoted that Netflix, Amazon, and Mx Player have taken the center stage worldwide.

The democratization is simple and they are doing superb content with an excellent team and splendid directors. The subscribers are happy to watch OTT as in under a payment of Rs. 500 they have unlimited access to films and web series.

In the end, Indranil talked about opportunities for individual creators on the OTT platform. He said that being an independent filmmaker, all his work to date is streaming on the world’s best OTT platforms. So, there are a lot of opportunities for individual and independent creators like him. Also, advises them to focus more on original content and creative films.

Read: “Beauty standards are changing”, Zeenat Kapadia

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