Utsav Mukherjee

Utsav Mukherjee is an award winning film practitioner and screen-writer. He holds a master's degree in Film Studies from Jadavpur University, Kolkata and has made several films, documentaries and directed TV shows in and around India.

Learn more about Utsav

1. Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
My film Nameless Natives is a very humble cinematic effort and a discourse on the 'origin' and 'originality' of a group of people thoroughly denied and undermined by the dominant course of history over the ages. This film is about the society, culture, economy, politics and rituals of one of the oldest group of people in the entire world. It is also a film about human living, struggle, feeling, belief and the purest emotion in the era of a rapidly changing world.


2. What are your ambitions with your project?

My ambition is to make my film watched by as many people as possible from different countries, cultures, languages and aesthetics.

3. Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you?
It was a very hectic shoot as we didn't have the resources to shoot for adequate number of days; so we had to rush yet had to be very precise about what we wanted to shoot. What very pleasantly surprised me was the help, support and the immense enthusiasm of the locals; even those who didn't feature in the film. Shooting is a technical process so it becomes boring at times for those who are not a part of or know about it; but the villagers were extremely disciplined and excited with child-like curiosity. That was fascinating.

4. For what group of spectators is your film targeted?
Spectators with sensitivity, sensibility, emotion and an eagerness to know and celebrate lives perhaps very similar to or very different from theirs.

5. Why should distributors buy your film?
Primarily because the film encapsulates the courage and strength that a community holds; in this instance, the Santhal tribal community that Nameless Natives is based on. In today's day and age, the core message for humanity, at large, is to look within and find the strength within us and our communities; not to forget that a healthy community also acts as a foundation of 'being human'. Hence, for any distributor, this would be an opportunity to be of service; just as it was for us when we stepped in to tell this story.
6. How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?
It is a work of passion, honesty, dedication and no-show off. Knowing and respecting lives different from ours is what characterizes this film.

7. Why did you decided to become a filmmaker?
As a kid, cinema was the most powerful medium. And cinema viewing in those days, while I was growing up, was mostly in the theatres; the dark auditorium with illuminated screen fascinated me and I wondered how can one create life on a dead screen! It was a mystery and a magic that I always wanted to unfold and be a part of. Years later I realized that I have to become a film maker to understand this!

8. Who is your role model?
No one in particular; although there are many film makers that I adore and am engrossed with. To name a few, Satyajit Ray, Alfred Hitchcock, Abbas Kiarostami but I don't wish to be like any of them because that is impossible with mathematical certainty.

9. Which movies are your favorites? Why?
There are many. Just to name a few:
1. Pather Panchali (Song of the little road)
2. Meghe Dhaka Tara (Cloud capped star)
3. Rebecca
4. And life goes on
5. Godfather
6. Forest Gump
7. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
8. Memories of Murders
9. Kill Bill
10. Cinema Paradiso

The reasons are various yet the common thread in all the films are people, their lives, struggles, emotions; human conditions to be precise.

10. Where do you look for inspiration for your films?
People around me. Some i know, some are complete strangers and I want to introspect into the feeling, personalities, behaviour of the vis-a-vis a contemporary time.

11. Which topics interest you the most?
Human emotion, psychological space, human behaviour, human reaction to the occurrence around them sometimes with contexts and sometimes without, ethics, value system, socio-cultural decay & possibilities etc.

12. What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?
To be able to say 'No' to a lot of projects that I didn't believe in or didn't want to do.

13. What do you consider most important about filming?
For me it is the writing and the shooting; that's where the film is shaped.

14. Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?
Techniques are the tools, I like them in correlation with my content so for me every film needs the best technique to make the best possible film; each to one's own.

15. How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?
In the era of digital, film making is cheaper, easier and more dynamic compared to analogue but machine/technology/tools overpowering human skills/methods may not be the best thing that has happened. I feel, from magic cinema has become tricks.

16. What can disappoint you in a movie?
A film pretending to be what it is not and bad acting.

17. Who supports you in your film career?
Primarily my parents and all those great film makers that I admire.

18. What are the reactions to your film? (opinion of spectators, film critics, friends and family)
Some loved, some liked, some thought of it as an important work, some were a bit underwhelmed but whoever watched it felt it to be an honest approach to the subject and film making.

19. Have you already visited any of the prestigious film festivals?
The film has but I haven't had the opportunity yet; tied to work!

20. What are your future plans in filmmaking carriere?
I do not have a concrete plan or project yet to talk about but whatever I make, it will deal with people and their emotions.