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Wanted analytical observations of the pandemic, says Atanu Ghosh of Onubhobe Otimari


The documentary doesn’t focus on capturing the adverse effects of the pandemic. Instead, it focuses on certain transformations that were hard to imagine before the pandemic struck.

Roushni Sarkar

Besides causing the death of millions around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life in a manner rarely seen before. A large section of the Indian population has lost its livelihoods. Lockdowns and the need for physical distancing have created such an environment of panic that people are finding it difficult to return to the normal course of life.

Atanu Ghosh’s documentary Onubhobe Otimari captures the different dimensions of the pandemic from the perspective of 14 personalities engaged in different professions. Medical researcher Dr Shuvendu Sen, indie filmmaker Amartya Bhattacharyya, artist and science scholar Kunal Sen, actor Joyraj Bhattacharya, actress Rayati Bhattacheryee, consultant psychologist Anuttama Banerjee, music composer Debajyoti Mishra, vocalist Kamalini Mukhejee and actor and voice artiste Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee are some of them.

The documentary doesn’t focus on capturing the adverse effects of the pandemic. Instead, it focuses on certain transformations that were hard to imagine before the pandemic struck.

“I have not tried to focus on the crisis of the pandemic, neither did I attempt to highlight the magnitude of grief, pain, loss or inconvenience," Atanu Ghosh said. "Onubhobe Otimari portrays a new consciousness, certain realizations and feelings that the pandemic gave birth to.”

The featured personalities have shared their experiences on self-shot visuals. The collage has been woven together with black-and-white images from all over the world of people battling the pandemic and adapting to the so-called new normal.

“These are comments of thoughtful people," explained the filmmaker. "The reason I did not feature migrant labourers, people working on the frontlines or daily-wagers was that they would only convey their plight. They are not in a position to observe the situation objectively.”

The purpose of making the documentary was to gain an analytical perspective on the situation, he said. Hence, the National award-winning filmmaker did not feature people who would give superficial messages of facing the pandemic and not surrendering to it. “I have invested a lot in choosing the people featured in it," he said. "Sujay Dutta Ray has done the brilliant editing. The credit for composing the film with a logical progression goes to him.”

Onubhobe Otimari is a fundraising project for COVID-19 relief. The documentary is now available on the OTT platform MyCinemaHall.

Correction, 11:50am: An earlier version of this report had mentioned Dr Subhendu Ghosh as one of those featured in the documentary. The person featured is Dr Shuvendu Sen, vice-chair, research and faculty, Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey, USA.

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