‘I am drawn to people who are anti-establishment’

26

Q, 39, Filmmaker

If not canonical Bengali filmmakers, what and who informs your cinema and your music?
I never watched Indian films in particular. I started looking at cinema because of the post- 1990s digital film movement, especially Dogme 95, an avant-garde film movement from which several directors I admire emerged, such as Lars von Trier. I taught myself filmmaking from them. I ran away from the music that I was exposed to growing up in Kolkata. Psy-trance, digital music influenced me heavily, as did going back to the music of the Asian Underground.
What books and papers do you read?
Growing up in Bengal in the 1980s, my father had a lot of socialist material. A favourite was Misha, a Russian comic. I avoid the phenomenon of news because truth is never revealed. I would rather read alternative information streams that can be classified as leftist liberal. Irvine Welsh largely influences my work. It’s quite difficult to access his language, but his is the ideology of the subaltern, the subculture. He talks about lives I know. There is no difference between a Welsh mining town and a subaltern place in Bengal. We try to hide the degree of madness he brings out. There are also the manga works of Shintaro Kago and Osamu Tezuka. We get limited exposure to what’s outside our domain, and Tezuka was one of the few mangakas who could be accessed.
What sort of people are you drawn to?
Delinquents. People who are anti-establishment, who rebel and question. This could be because I grew up in a socialist environment, with the word revolution associated with everything.
On-screen and off-screen, what do you think of sex, love and marriage?
There is no on-screen and off-screen for me. I embody my work. What I’ve always felt about society and sexuality is in my art. My major subject is individual sexual identity. Love is a manufactured reality, sex is the only truth and marriage a social phenomenon. Love is an abstract concept. How is it that everyone in the world can feel love, yet for a normal person abstraction is unreal?