Interview: Indian film-maker Arin Paul talks to Arijit Chakraborty
Click on Play to listen online via WBRi On-Demand Audio Broadcast
Dec 1, 2010 (Washington Bangla Radio) Arin Paul - the smart young and talented director from Kolkata, talks to Arijit Chakraborty about his background and career in this exclusive, informal and intimate audio interview broadcast on-demand from WBRi.
Renowned Bengali film-maker Arin Paul was born in Belur but moved to the picturesque mountain town of Shillong with his parents when very young, and grew up in Shillong. He returned to Calcutta where he graduated from high-school and went to college. Soon after graduating from college, he studied at the famous Asian Academy of Film & Television (AAFT) of NOIDA, and started assisting directors in making films, initially at New Delhi and then in Calcutta.
After gathering substantial experience as an assistant director for around five years, around late 2007 Arin decided to direct films of his own.
About The Bangla Telefilm Club (BTC)
Arin Paul is the founder and president of the Bangla Telefilm Club - the first and only club of it's kind in the whole world.
During the time Arin was working as an assistant director in Calcutta, the TV channels in Calcutta were producing and broadcasting a great number of telefilms, some of which Arin was assisting with. Looking at these films, Arin started to wonder what it would be like to screen these telefilms on the big screen and thus to increase their reach into a bigger audience. Pursuing this uniquely innovative idea, Arin Paul went ahead and with a few like-minded friends founded the world's first Telefilm Club and started working with the TV channels to bring telefilms to cinema theaters and auditoriums.
The Telefilm Club started screening telefilms on the 2nd Sunday of every month - traditionally a holiday for people in the film industry, thus also providing an
opportunity of the cast and crew of the films being screened to be present at the show and interact with the audience. Best of all, attendance was free - and the Telefilm Club's shows became immensely popular, driven by the appealing opportunity of not only watching films but also to interact in the first person with the director, script writer, cinematographer, cast and crew of the film. Thanks to excellent support by sponsors, the Telefilm Club was extremely active for two full years, before winding down in mid 2009 due to many factors, including loss of sponsorship due to global recession (Arin and his friends actually financed the shows themselves for quite a while), a big decrease in the number of telefilms being produced by television channels, and so on. But, as you will hear Arin say in this interview, the club is a registered non-profit organization in India and Arin and his buddies are working very hard to revive it.
About Working With Anjan Dutta
When Arin was still very new in the cinema industry (not even a whole year yet), a great opportunity presented itself to Arin to work as an assistant director with Anjan Dutta, the famous singer-songwriter-filmmaker-actor. Arin describes Anjan Dutta as "one of the most interesting persons I have ever met". You will hear Arin talk about his first visit with Anjan Dutta at his residence on Beniyapukur Lane and how Anjan Dutta explained a bunch of things which Arin soaked in while in a "mesmerized" state Arin started working with Anjan Dutta on the telefilm AMAR BABA for ETV Bangla channel starring Anjan Dutta himself, Soumitra Chatterjee and others. The experience of working with Anjan Dutta on Amar Baba was fabulous, and Arin says that disregarding the fact that he is the assistant director, AMAR BABA is one of the best telefilms that Arin has watched.
Do not miss Arin's story of what happened on the last day of shooting for AMAR BABA (they were shooting at the Ghosh residence in Bhowanipore) - after the last scene was complete, and while everyone was packing up, Anjan-da suddenly gave Arin a big affectionate round of back-patting and then moved away again. These little incidents of show of emotion by Anjan Dutta are the most touching for Arin, who worked with Anjan Dutta in two more telefilms (Abalaye Nilima with Anjan Dutta and Mamata Shankar, and a film in the Joy Baba Rudranath series with Sabyasachi Chakrabarty).
Arin had a blast, and picked a lot of valuable experience and knowledge during his stints with Anjan Dutta. He describes how meticulously detailed plans were made by
Anjan-da so that there was very little confusion during the actual shooting.
UNDP Documentary on HIV/AIDS
Around the time Arin was contemplating moving away from assisting in film-making to make his own films, an opportunity presented itself to work as a Project Co-ordinator for training a novice crew towards helping them make an awareness film on the effects of HIV/AIDS, funded by the UNDP (United Nations Development Program).
15 Short Films For Kolkata Police
Soon after the UNDP project, Arin directed five films for Calcutta Police. These five films were Arin's debut as a director.
Kolkata Police loved the films so much that they asked Arin for 10 more films the following month. Thus, Arin Paul directed 15 fils for the Calcutta Police. All of these films were broadcast on all news and entertainment TV channels in Kolkata for over a year!
Early Shorts Around the time Arin was completing the shorts for the Calcutta Police, a buddy of his and Arin decided to make a short film in 7 days. The result was "… and there wasn’t everafter …", followed by a couple of more Bengali short films like Bhindesi Tara and Terrorist - the latter actually wrapped up after Doshta Dosh was released (see below).
Incomplete film: Sabdhan Pancha Asche
Sabdhan Pancha Asche is almost complete but shelved as of now. The film, written by Padmanabha Dasgupta, features some firsts in Bengali cinema, including Bollywood
play-back singer Kunal Ganjawala's first Bengali film song and Fossils founder Rupam Islam's debut as a Bengali film play-back singer.
Doshta Dosh (10:10)
Arin Paul and Claudia Ciesla reviewing a scene
Arin Paul directed his first full-length Bengali feature film Dashta Dash which was shot around August - September 2008 and released on Nov 28, 2008 in theaters across Kolkata. The script for 10:10 is written by Padmanabha Dasgupta based on a story by Arin Paul. The star cast features Soumitra Chatterjee, Kanchan Mullick, Claudia Ciesla, Subrata Dutta, Aparajita Ghosh Das and others. Parambrata Chatterjee makes a guest appearance in the film. The music director is Drono Acharya. Playback singers of the Bengali (and English) film songs in the movie included Sunidhi Chauhan, Claudia Ciesla, Babul Supriyo, Sidhu, Jojo and Sree. Polish-German actress Claudia Ciesla plays the role of a German journalist in the film. Claudia also performed the title song. Read all about the film and buy the Bengali Movie DVD online HERE.
Arin Paul directing 10:10
Coffee & More
After 10:10, Arin did a news/event updates series on ZEE Bangla TV Channel called Coffee & More.
Jyanto Durga (2010)
Recently, Arin released a documentary film titled "Jyanto Durga" (English Title: Durga Live) about the dissapearing traditional art-form of Bengal where the artists dress up like Gods as a token of reverence. Arin tells us an interesting anecdote about how in 2007 the idea of Jyanto Durga suddenly occurred to him while talking to a gentleman sitting inside a car next to the Pantaloon's retail store in Kolkata.
Jyanto Durga (Durga Live) is the live experience of another group whose participation in this carnival involves their mind, body and soul. These performing artists live in remote villages. They are dependent on Durga Puja to make their two ends meet. Jyanto Durga (Durga Live) unveils – their journey in its truest form – straight from their mouth – unscripted & untutored. It shows in natural format how the making of Devi Durga unfolds in its idol form as well as in form of Jyanto Durga (Durga Live). It depicts the activities performed on human body for the formation of Goddess Durga, Mahishasur, The Lion, Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess Saraswati, Lord Kartik and Lord Ganesha live idols – “Jyanto Durga”.
Read more about Jyanto Durga here.
AAJKE on Kolkata TV
Arin is currently involved with the daily program AAJKE on KOLKATA TV that is essentially about historic incidents, birthdays etc. that happened on that day.
To know more about Arin Paul and his films, visit: