Interview Bengali

Pupa is a reflection of our generation, we do not know what we want: Director Indrasis Acharya

On the sidelines of the ongoing Kazhcha-Niv Indie Film Festival 2018, the director speaks on the theme, music, and philosophy of his film.

Indrasis Acharya and Sachin Chatte. Photo: KNIFF

Shriram Iyengar

The idea of death is one of the key themes of Indrasis Acharya's Pupa. Screened at the Kazhcha-Niv Indie Film Festival 2018, the film deals with the story of a family that is stuck in time waiting on a debilitated old man on his deathbed. The film captures the conflict of human emotions, logic, and ambitions while under duress.

The discussion after the screening revolved around the complex issue which the film focuses on — euthanasia. Acharya pointed out that while he does not defend the actions of the character of Rajat (played by Kamaleshwar Mukherjee), they are a product of his 'very rational and wise mind'. "He does it to save the rest of the family," Acharya said. 

Pupa review: Delineating stock concerns of a modern bhadralok in a humorous tragicomedy

Speaking with later, Acharya spoke on how the theme was born. "It is a reflection of our generation because we do not know what we want to achieve," he said. 

The director stated that the current generation seems to possess the talent in abundance, but lacks conviction. "When the conviction is proper, it helps you to overcome any hindrance in life," he observed. 

Following are excerpts from the interview:


Tell us about the term Pupa, why did you choose it for the film?

It is the biological term, pupa. It is the transformation phase when the caterpillar becomes the butterfly. It is an intermediate space when the caterpillar cannot move and the butterfly cannot fly. It is a stagnant position, like some of the characters in my film.

The film also has a wonderful subtext told through music. You have used Beethoven and classical music. Why so?

Well, there were two songs in particular, 'Ode To Joy' and 'Fate Knocking At The Door' by Beethoven.
'Ode To Joy' is pretty self explanatory. The characters are all stuck in a funeral, and someone [the uncle] is making a mockery of the situation.

'Fate Knocking At The Door' also has a similar theme, and symbol of the fate of the character whose fate is knocking at the door in the film. That's why I have used the music. Again, to break the monotony of the film, and the claustrophobia that is being developed in the film at the time. Some music can break the shackles, change the ambience of the film. I also had to include some energy into the film. So, I chose music to do that.

The film also deals with a sense of existentialism, particularly in the character of the nephew, Shuvro. He has the talent and the potential, but is unable or unwilling to act on it. Where did that come from?

That is an interesting thought for me as well. The script is very instinctive. It is not that I wanted to make him that way. I just kept on writing and it formed that way. It is a reflection of our generation because we do not know what we want to achieve. I am not saying in a specific instance but in general. The objectivity is missing.

You can see the uncle, on the other hand, is convinced about what he wants to do in life, and what he wants to achieve. The conviction was proper. When the conviction is proper, it helps you to overcome any hindrance in life.
The uncle, Rajat, has that kind of wisdom and open-mindedness and the risk-taking ability to achieve his goal.

About Bengali cinema, it has been having a re-emergence for the last couple of years. But the competition has increased with some great content coming from Maharasthra, Kerala and other parts.

I must say Bengali cinema is a little lagging behind, but there are filmmakers who are trying to come out with a different cinematic language. They stick to their language, without diverting it for the sake of the audience or an interesting finish. There is good experimentation.

Bengali cinema is only now a slowly emerging style of cinema. It is like the West Indies team. Till 1989, they were unbeatable. From 1994 onwards, they could not beat Bangladesh or Afghanistan. When the time comes, they will again set it right.

Are you working on any scripts now?

Yes, I am working on a new project with Rituparna Sengupta. Let us see how that goes.

You also spoke about talking to digital platforms for picking up your film?

Yes, it will come out on a digital platform. But I am not sure which digital platform because our producers have their own portal.

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Kazhcha Indie Film Festival