Picture this. Five struggling filmmakers working on a film that deals with the victimisation of a Mumbai-based taxi driver. While they are dealing with the reel life violence of their protagonist, the real life picture of these five individuals also portrays different faces of violence. That’s the plot behind Yeti, a film by Abhijit Mazumdar. It was the only Indian film to be screened in the non-competitive section “Waves” of the recent 32nd Torino Film Festival, Italy.
Yeti, says Mazumdar, is a diploma project of five acting batch students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) — Manoj Sharma, Prateek Rathore, Atmaja Pandey, Yashashwi Mishra and Anurag Mishra — who also form the cast of the film. “Every year, FTII invites directors from outside, mostly alumni, to work with the graduating batch of acting students for their diploma projects. When I was approached, I was more than happy to take up the project,” he says, adding that long interactive workshops and sessions with the students translated into a film. The 62-minute film was shot in Pune in November 2013 over 10 days.
Born and brought up in Kolkata, Mazumdar graduated in film direction from the FTII in 2005. Sharing his journey from Kolkata to Pune, he reveals that his father was a movie buff who loved Hindi films and every weekend the family would watch a film. “Later, as I grew up, I started watching more of Hollywood films. I also had a group of friends; we would watch films together and have elaborate discussions on the films. I started attending film festivals and even assisted people who were making films. But then it struck me that I needed to learn more deeply and hence applied at FTII,” he says.
“The campus has cinema running through every little part of the institute. One meets different people who come with their own understanding of cinema,” he adds.
After the course, Mazumdar, who teaches at the Whistling Woods Academy in Mumbai, shifted to the city and went on to direct a few short films, documentaries and commercials. His feature script titled Delirium was selected for Mumbai Mantra Sundance Screenwriting Lab, 2013.
In 2012, his short film Vanishing Point was screened at festivals such as Glasgow Short Film Festival, Jameson Dublin International Film Festival, Durban International Film Festival and International Film Festival of India (IFFI). Chlorophyll, his 2005 short film, was a part of the competition section of The Way We Live Film Festival, Karlovy Vary Fresh Film Fest and official selection of Probelauf XI.