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Being different is not bad or abnormal, says The Florist director Priyam Chanda

The silent short film won the Audience Award at Ireland's Pride of the Deise festival in June this year.

Priyam Chanda, Dipak Das, Asmita Bhaduri and Sushovan Dasgupta

Roushni Sarkar

Priyam Chanda’s short film The Florist, starring Dipak Das, Asmita Bhaduri and Sushovan Dasgupta, received the Audience Award at Ireland’s Pride of the Deise, a festival organized by a non-profit volunteer-led community organization in Waterford City, in June this year. The silent film, which revolves around a same-sex relationship, was also recently screened at the Shades International Film Festival, 2021.

In the film, a man gets separated from his wife and plunges into deep grief, not knowing that the florist, from who he buys roses regularly, eagerly waits to catch a glimpse of him once a day. When his wife finally sends the notice for divorce, he doesn’t go to buy flowers anymore. But the florist, unable to deal with the unpaid visit, reaches his home to give him his usual bunch of roses.

“Our society doesn’t speak openly about and for people with different gender identities and expressions. Moreover, these people are always perceived in a bad light. This glaring gap is the inspiration behind The Florist,” said Chanda, who, along with fellow filmmakers, has made a collective commitment to present stories of homosexuality on screen and show the audience that being different is not bad or abnormal.

“Same-Sex relationships are still seen as a taboo. Why? Life is short. It's ours. Everything is perception. Hence, go with your perception, do the right thing which you feel would not harm anyone” added the director, "That's the motto. No boundaries for love. It would be wrong if I don't mention a film by Tathagata Ghosh's Miss Man, which has had a long-lasting impact on me." 

Shedding light on making a film without dialogues, he said, “Pictures speak a thousand words. So why not a film? Of course, it was an experiment on our end since making a 15-minute silent film based on situations and expressions is a tricky task.” The filmmaker expressed his gratitude to cinematographer Arijit Sorkar, screenwriter Kausani Mitra, the actors, music director Daipayan, sound designers Anindit Roy and Adeep Singh Manki and the entire team of Aural Workstation, who pulled off the task with ease.

Making the silent film was challenging but a great learning experience for the team. “We did a lot of brainstorming for each shot and worked meticulously on each expression because they needed to be perfect to properly communicate our vision to the audience. Background scoring and foley work were also leveraged greatly to strengthen the narrative,” he added.

Chanda started making films during his college days. “I borrowed a Panasonic point to shoot with one of my friends and shot a horror flick in 2009 in a hostel that was built in 1962 in Bangalore. Surprisingly, it was screened at my college fest and that instilled confidence in me to choose this path,” he said.

Between 2012 and 2016, Chanda and his team independently made several short films under his production house Crosscubes Productions. “I founded Melting Point Films with two of my friends, Sushovan Dasgupta and Asmita Bhaduri, in 2019 and debuted with the film The Round Trip. Since then, we have made several award-winning films in various genres including The Florist.

The Florist has also been screened at the 4th Multicultural Film Festival, Toronto 2021; Goa Short Film Festival 2021; 10th Ritwik Honorary Awards and Film Festival 2021; and 23rd Madurai International Documentary and Short Film Festival.