Film Education

Confessions of a First Time Filmmaker – Sowrik Datta
Amazon link:

Trailer Link:

Sowrik DattaFilmmaker

(FILM APPRECIATION Course January 2009 batch)

The Inspiration for the Plot of the film

I spent days thinking of a plot based on the idea of the conflict – ‘Man vs Self’. Finally one night while watching Godard’s film ‘Breathless’, a thought came to my mind – What might have happened to Patricia four years after Michel died? It hit me like a bolt; I found the plot for my film. I couldn’t sleep that night

The Funders:

With a savings of around Rs. 40,000, I wanted to make the film but I soon realised that it was not possible so I asked my family and all my close friends to help me in whatever way they could. The response was beyond my expectations. Without questioning my filmmaking abilities even once, they all contributed greatly in financing my film. My family contributed Rs. 60,000 and six friends promised to give a total of Rs. 80,000 for my project. That brought up the budget of the film to Rs. 1.8 Lac, which was a handsome budget for a film to be shot on Video format. I was elated and at the same time felt that their hard-earned money is now my responsibility.

Satyajit Ray was a big inspiration for me and my team – he similarly started making his first film “Pather Panchali” with his own savings and it took three long years to complete at least we were more fortunate.

Equipment, Lights and Creative Solutions:

After consultation with my cinematographer, we decided to go ahead with the SONY Z7P- an HDV cam with hiring charges of Rs. 3500 per day, keeping in mind the budget and the intended feel of the film. However, I was shell shocked to see a budget of Rs. 9000 per day only for lights but we then my cinematographer found creative solutions and we ended up hiring only two lights costing Rs 1500 per day.

Acting Auditions:

The auditions were conducted in the parking lot behind Prithvi Theatre as they don’t allow cameras inside their compound. Of course I had no provision in my budget to pay actors but they believed in the script and supported me with their talent. The lead character demanded unorthodox looks, matured performance, perfect diction. When Aradhna came for the auditions Rohit and me felt the character come to life and my choice was made.

The Shoot – Behind schedule:

The shooting schedule was for four days- 3 days for indoor scenes and 1 day for the outdoor shoot.  The team of 19 people started on fourteenth of September towards Lonavala, where the farmhouse was located. Two of the cars in which actors and the production team were travelling and also the truck carrying the lights and the generator reached the destination on time. But the third car in which the camera was supposed to come, broke down twice on the road. Things started getting delayed.

Finally, the camera reached the location. By the time the camera finally started rolling, we were 7 hours behind schedule. Out of our initial plan to complete 7 scenes on the first day, we could manage to complete only 4 small scenes. It was clear that that even an addition of one more day in the schedule would affect my post production budget. We had to complete the shoot in the next two days.

After every one went to sleep, I was standing in the area where the first scene for the next day was to be shot. I put aside my previous shooting script and took out a fresh copy to rewrite shot breakdowns. I caught a few winks early in the morning. Me, my cinematographer and my production manager hardly took a break so that the camera keeps rolling for the full 12hours shift. We completed shooting the remaining 18 scenes in the next two days. We were back on schedule.


The film dealt mostly with a character’s silence from deep guilt, sudden violent outburst and finally a realisation. To bring out inner conflict, the editing pattern had to be slow and sensitive. Moreover, for smooth transition between scenes, ‘L-Cut’ was used, which sub-consciously helped viewers to drift with the flow of the story.

Music and Dubbing:

The film can be roughly divided into two main stages- before realisation and after realisation. Before realisation, the whole feel of the film is very gloomy & pensive and these two emotions were beautifully underlined by symphony on sombre notes. After the realisation stage, the music makes transitions from semi bright notes played on piano to Jazz and finally ending with Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’.

The film was dubbed. It took 20 hours of dubbing to complete the film.

DVD Published:

Finally, on the first week of November, the first batch of DVDs of my short feature ‘The Atonement’ saw the light of the day. I felt like being on the top of the world! The film finally got completed. The expenses exceeded the budget, I was almost bankrupt but still happy.

What does it take to make an independent film?

Passion followed by destiny or Destiny followed by Passion- Debatable issue but I would like to vouch for both.

I have reasons.

The Team:

I am grateful. I am indebted to all the people who have helped me-monetarily, technically, morally, to finish my film. I will forever remain indebted to them.

Dhruv – Production Manager/ Technical Director/ Editor/Post Production Head

Rohit – Casting Director/Production in charge.

Gautami – Cinematographer.


23 Comments so far
Leave a comment


Comment by Dhruv

Congrats Sowrik!

Your story is really inspiring for all of us…

Wishing you good luck on this wonderful journey…

Comment by Chittranjan

thanks Chittranjan!

Comment by sowrik

It’s quite inspiring to know how you managed to go about the whole process – right from collecting funds, to your auditions till the first batch of DVDs were out.Impressive! I’m really looking forward to see your film.
All the best 🙂

Comment by Shweta

glad dat u liked it, Shweta. Thanks a lot!!

Comment by sowrik

Congrats Dada,

Its a great achievement. I can understand all the pain and gain as I myself am an emerging filmmaker. Its amazing to see how you are inspiring all the emerging artisans who want to reach where you have! Nonetheless, when a man climbs a mountain, he only sees that there are many more mountains to be climbed.

Wishing you luck from the deepest part of my heart for you future projects. Waiting to see your film on the silver screen soon.


Comment by Agastya Kapoor

hey agastya…..thanks a lot man!!!

Comment by sowrik

Kya Thanks…Boss, you are the Man! Humto do-teen minute ki film banate hai, aap ne to feature hi bana daalaa!

Comment by Agastya Kapoor

Aap bhi banaoge soldier ! I believe in you. You have a great visual sense! and you are working towards your dream by having a deep desire….yes making a film is a challenge but life is too:)

Comment by oorvazi

Glad to know that 6 dvds of your film ‘The Atonement’ got sold in the US recently!

Comment by oorvazifilmeducation

Thanks Ma’am…a lot !!

Comment by sowrik

4yrs pinkfloyd the numerous bottles of vodka formulates an adhesive which is difficult to tear apart friends. Probably that’s how I will describe our relation, like every arthouse movie even ours had it’s moments of frictions. But what always struck me with this modest friend of mine is his diligence and the ability to impress a philosophical insight into the most generalised dimension. We all have dreams, but only a few have the bollocks to pursue them – I must say Dot, you make me proud. Good luck pal. And needless to say I will be a very keen follower of your nascent filmatographic career. I sincerely wish you don’t stop here and someone in the industry recognises your talent. Do us proud. God bless

Comment by Nilabza

thanks man…..for such beautiful words….glad that u liked it…may god bless u 2!

Comment by sowrik

I do not have the audacity to state this humungous ‘passion’, ‘dedication’, ‘perseverance’ by simply quoting “hard work”. It was an unimaginable effort. My heartiest blessing and best wishes are with you.

I would rate this effort as one of the best success story I had ever read.

Success is a journey, not a destination and I am confident that the journey will continue forever for you.

Comment by Kingshuk

hey dada….thanx a lot big bro…..needless to say without all of u this would have been possible…..its u folks who helped me 2 grow 4m strength 2 strength….thanx once again!!!

Comment by sowrik

thanks a lot ma’am, such interviews will give us the courage and inspiration to go ahead with our dreams and not giving up. this is what is most needed at this juncture of our lives!

Comment by vivek

MY Dear Vivek!
I am so happy its been inspiring !
yes perseverance and self confidence are very very important to success

Comment by oorvazi

Let me start stating our second innings with this ‘genius’ and when i am quoting him genius i really mean it.I specially dont need to read all the confession he has made in his bolg,Because I have personally seen the passion and the dream pursuition of this man in front of my eyes when we met second time in mumbai and started sharing a room together.At that point of time neither of us had any job.And that was the time when i saw the passion in him.Behind every dream there is a belief.But incase of him i have seen something more than a belief,i have seen pursuation of the dream.

I believe you are doing what you are made for.i will never say best of luck because you are not that material who needs luck.

Comment by Anupam

hey buddy….you have always been a great support to me….& you ARE generous with your words…..thanx…tc!!!

Comment by sowrik

Sowrik has the sensitivity, sincerity and dedication to make his dream come true…our little Satyajit Ray 🙂

Comment by oorvazi

Thanx ma’am. but now this title is putting me under lots of pressure!!

Comment by sowrik

Awesome! That’s some passion and enterprise – Congratulations!! .. Look forward to watching the movie. Cheers!

Comment by Venkat

Thanks Venkat!
Yes watch the film and give Sowrik your feedback

Comment by oorvazi

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: