Saumitra Singh is a multi-faceted artiste. Apart from being a filmmaker, Saumitra has worked extensively as a graphic designer and has designed the posters of several films and other projects. Armed with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Amity University in Noida, he arrived in Mumbai to try his luck in the movies. In a very short span of time, the enterprising filmmaker has made a bunch of short films that have been received very well and is now ready with a film that will be out on a streaming platform soon. His short film ‘Kala Bai From Byculla’ is streaming on the newly launched streaming platform BiiggBang Amusement.
In this interview, Saumitra talks about the short, his journey in the entertainment industry, why training is important for a filmmaker and more.
‘Kala Bai From Byculla’ has mythological and supernatural elements to it. For a short film, this seems to be quite an ambitious venture.
The thing is whenever we get a story, we tend to realize it if its new or done earlier. It’s all about your intuition. We didn’t’ want to show everything overtly. We have not shown Kala Bai, the Goddess, at any point. We have tried to represent her as a human figure. It was a one-day shoot. We started at around 9 am in the morning and competed the shoot around 8 pm. We managed to finish it before schedule. We managed to shoot 23 scenes in a single day. We had a bit of a pressure too as lockdown was supposed to be imposed from the next day.
How was the experience of working with Sharib Hashmi?
I knew Sharib through one of my friends. Simran. He is gem of a person. We didn’t have an actor-director relationship while working. On the set, we were like brothers who were trying to tell a story in the most effective manner. He shared a lot of wonderful ideas and offered some great improvisations on the dialogues. I have always been very lucky with actors. I feel fortunate to have worked with the likes of Naseeruddin Shah, Rituraj and Mahesh Manjrekar and getting the opportunity to learn from them.
How was the experience of working with Ram Kamal Mukherjee who has produced this film?
Ram sir was very supportive and so were Sarbani ma’am and Aritra Das who were the co-producers on the film. Ram sir told me, “you have all the freedom. Go, make the film you want to make”. They had really liked the script. When a producer believes in you, the process becomes much easier. That’s the reason we finished it before schedule. I am highly grateful to BiiggBang Amusement for giving us a platform and the opportunity to showcase our film in front of the world.
Before ‘Kala Bai From Byculla’, you had made two other short films called ‘The Wallet’ and ‘Painful Pride’ which were received very well. Do you think making short films is a good start for filmmakers these days?
I enjoy making short films. Making short films are quite challenging and that adds to the joy of making them. You have to tell a story in a short duration. With feature films, you have a lot of time, a bigger budget and get access to a lot of other things. I have also made a film called ‘Taxi No 24’, starring Mahesh Manjarekar, Jagjeet Sandhu and Anangsha Biswas, which will come out on an OTT platform soon. it’s a psychological thriller. I want to make different kind of films. There is another feature film in the pipeline. It is a murder mystery. It will have Sharib Hashmi and Rituraj in the lead roles. The tentative title of the film is ‘Albert Pinto Ko Kisne Maara’.
You studied Mass Communication and Journalism from Amity University, Noida and specialised in Film Making and Advertising. Do you think training is important for a filmmaker?
I would always recommend everyone to study cinema extensively. My family was in medicine business and far removed from the world of cinema. Somehow, I had a different bent of mind. My brother suggested that I should study mass communication. Since I was interested in films, I specialized in filmmaking and advertisement. When we went there, we realized the kind of efforts that go into making a film. Right now, there are several institutes. So, one should take from it. Assisting a senior filmmaker is also very important.