In Conversation with Bipuljit Basu, Indian Filmmaker

Bipuljit, tell me about your film journey?

I had not come to make a film. Social Music was my priority. I used to tell marginalized human stories through my music. I was looking for a bigger canvas to tell the underprivileged stories. Music has paved the way and it took me to film. I am carrying out the same thing what I used to do with my music – Creating a space for the marginalized stories into mainstream culture. My medium has changed, however, my objective still remains there.

How do you judge a film? 

There are myriad explanations of judging a film. To me, it is a very straight one. I believe there are only three types of films made by the filmmakers.. Good, Bad and Important. I prefer the third one. Making a relevant film that raises questions in and outside and challenges the audience socially is my priority. I believe in broadening the civil space. I believe in showing Inclusion. It's something like a conscious hammering that breaks the stalemate psyche.

Your film Redlight to limelight is a Factual Cinema or documentary cinema . In India, it is a new genre.  Indian people are not very fond of documentaries, in comparison to the fiction ones. How do you perceive this genre of film ? 

The documentary film and classical music have a strange resemblance! In classical music, one has to grow the taste, giving oneself a time to understand the essence, technicalities and emotion inherent to the pieces of music. Gradually one gets engrossed into it. The same is applied to the Documentary genre too. You have to prepare yourself to taste it creatively. Gradually you will grow fond of it.

How do you plan to make Redlight to Limelight ? 

The story is about a few sex workers and youth who form CAM-ON, a film production house in the Kalighat brothel, India. Despite the opposition, they are determined to become film technicians, resist prostitution among the second generation, survive through cinema and aspire to turn the brothel into a film colony. 

The approach of the film is like an observational cinema, exploring the brothel from their perspective. They see their stories cinematically, engage local resources, and develop their own cinematic language using luscious cinematography and immersive soundscape. It is the unseen side of a brothel. We will utilize the scope of filming creative visuals involving the colourful characters, and cacophony under the context of the mystic winter of Kolkata.

The film has already got international recognition so far I know

The film has already been selected at different international pitch forums such as DOK Leipzig Co Pro Market, Germany, Docedge Kolkata and Dhaka Doc Lab, Bangladesh. It is now an India-Estonia coproduction with Marx Film, Tallin. Max Tuula and Maria Gavrilova are the producers.

Martijn te Pas who was the senior programmer from IDFA is working with us as a creative consultant.  Goethe Institute is the Impact partner. We also got finance support from Quantamanage headed by Dr.Sayanti Bhattacharya from USA. BAFTA winning director cinematographer Askold Kurov is also supporting the project in many ways. Uldis Cekulis, the producer from Latvia is also mentoring the project.  We also have support from the film investors from Kolkata- Somnath Ghosh and Sanket Mondal. Without all of their support, nothing would have been materialized. 

What is the expected release date of Redlight to Lightlight?

Possibly in early 2023. However, the situation will completely depend on the COVID situation.