Indie Talkies

Two budding filmmakers share their experience of making a documentary about independent cinema in India.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published:May 17, 2013 3:56 am

Our first feature-length documentary film,The Other Way began as an existential quest. We were clear that we wanted to make films. But how? In a nation obsessed with over-the-top masala films where do two kids,who love these films but don’t really identify with them,stand?

And thus the journey began in March 2012,to go out there and discover a few filmmakers who went the other way and told their stories. We went looking for our heroes and what started as a made-for-college-degree-film-of-10-minutes turned bigger. 

We were in the middle of our internships when we interviewed filmmaker Srinivas Sunderrajan of The Untitled Karthik Krishnan Project and The Greater Elephant fame. In a four-hour long interview,Srinivas changed many notions we may have had of the indie scene.  While it’s not easy getting everyone we want on board—when you are 21 and a nobody,very few people have time for you—but some extraordinary men and women have been gracious. Shiladitya Bora,who looks after Alternate Programming and Marketing at PVR Cinemas,told us about the business of independent films. Qaushiq Mukherjee and Amlan Datta told us what it means to be independent. These people have shaped how we see things.

The definition of the word ‘indie’ is best understood when you practice it yourself. The entire film was shot indie style which meant a crew of only three to four people including both of us. We used DSLR cameras to shoot the film—they have their limitations but the power they give at that price is amazing. And thanks to these comparatively small and light weight cameras we could travel around using public transport.

Initially we funded the film with our lunch money,but that wasn’t enough. That’s where we reached our next checkpoint—crowdfunding. Our partner was a site called,wishberry.in. We set out to raise Rs 80,000 but ended up raising Rs 1 lakh. Social media played an important role in making our film happen. We contacted almost all the folks we interviewed through their social media accounts. Even our crowd-funding campaign through wishberry.in was promoted only through social media. We would like to thank our families,friends and 49 odd people who have helped us make the film.

Shooting a feature-length documentary while still struggling to maintain attendance is hardly recommended—the sleepless nights,the immense work load and the constant worry about this being worth the effort can be daunting. we’ve been tirelessly editing the film in between classes,and assignments. It’s a lot to do,but trust us,it’s worth it.

Aniket Dasgupta and Swathy Sethumadhavan are students of Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communication

(The Next Wave is a space for film students to write about their projects. We would love to hear your stories. Mail us at writetoexpressplay@gmail.com)

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