Bedabrata Pain (Director of Chittagong): From NASA and CMOS Sensors to Passionate Film-Making

By Jyoti Prakash Mandal

Bedabrata Pain

Kolkata, October 12, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) The film Chittagong has been greatly praised after the premiere held in Mumbai few days back. Bedabrata Pain has shown his immense potential to be on the top band of film directors of the country. The whole nation is soon going to watch his directorial talent through his depicting of a true patriotic saga based on the Chittagong uprising, an event arguably lost in the history of India. But one is bound to be amazed on discovering the background of this versatile man.

Bedabrata PainFor 15 years, Dr. Bedabrata Pain was an award winning senior scientist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA, and a leading technologist in the field of CMOS image sensors.

One of the inventors of CMOS digital imaging technology that enabled the digital camera revolution - from cell-phone cameras to movie cameras (such as those used by RED) to those in space telescopes, he holds over 87 patents, and has lead the R&D on digital active pixel sensors at NASA. In 1999, he was inducted to the US Space Technology Hall of Fame .

In December 2008, he left NASA to pursue his passion of film-making. He went on to make the film Chittagong which has a backdrop of Bengal, his motherland. According to him he wanted to make the heroics of the real life characters known to everyone through his venture as he feels that these legends are under-exposed and get suppressed under big names like Gandhi, Bhagat Singh and Shubhas Chandra Bose. He also informs that this particular story is not of defeat but of a victory which though not lasting, energized patriotism within the freedom fighters of Bengal.

Chittagong marks his directorial debut and has already been the opening night film in two prestigious film-festivals. Written and produced by Bedabrata, the film is set for release in India just before Durga Puja. Earlier, he was the co-creater and the executive producer of internationally acclaimed and national best-film award winning Amu (2005) that premiered in Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals.

Growing up in Rabindranath Tagore and Satyajit Ray’s Bengal, art, literature and music come naturally to Bedabrata. A trained painter from his childhood days, he’s also a playwright and a singer (he is the leader singer of one of the songs of Chittagong). He was the principal researcher for the documentary called Lifting the Veil on the impact of globalization in India, and the writer of the book titled ‘Behind the events in Kashmir’.

Bedabrata has an excellent academic record.He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, India in 1986, where he topped his department. He received his Masters and PhD degrees from Columbia University, New York in 1992.  Since 1993, he was associated with NASA. Concurrent with his NASA work, he taught courses on CMOS imaging at UCLA, chaired international conferences, and was the invited speaker at several conferences. He has published over 150 technical papers, and won several awards, including the Lew-Allen Award for Inventors.

Bedabrata is also interested in making Bengali films if he gets good stories to tell.