Shomshuklla Das, Director, Actor, Musician & Poet

Director, Actor, Musician and Poet, Shomshuklla Das is a powerhouse of talent. She made her debut in cinema in 2013 as one of India’s few women feature film directors. She also directs her own theatre company, Kali Theatre, and has produced six books of poetry and nine music albums.

Shomshuklla’s debut film Sandcastle won the Best Cinematography Award at the Tenerife International Film Festival 2013. Her second film ‘A Holiday and a Picnic’ is selected for International Filmmaker Festival of World Cinema in London which will be held from 22nd to 27th February, 2015 at West Ham United FC Football ground.

A Holiday and a Picnic will be on theatrical release in India from January 30, 2015 following the film’s 2014 awards in Cinematography at the Columbia Gorge Festival and the Madrid International Film Festival in Spain.

Shomshuklla takes a few minutes to chat with Of Indian Origin:

So, tell us how it all started. How and when did you decide you wanted to become a filmmaker?

In 2006 when I wrote my first script Sandcastle I started planning to do my own films. It actually started by watching a friend direct a music video who was doing for the first time and it was a success. His success triggered in me this ambition.

Tell us a bit about ‘A Holiday and a Picnic’.

The film has been renamed from only ‘Picnic’ to ‘A Holiday and a Picnic’ as it clashed with the similar name registered in India for theatrical release. It is an adaptation of  Rabindranath Tagore’s famous romantic novella ” Shesher Kobita” (the last poem). It is a romantic story where I have the characters, who meet in a resort and fall in love – that is told in a manner that is subtle and sophisticated. It has 7 songs of Tagore who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in the early 19th century. The first Nobel laureate of India.

I wanted to make the film melodious and pleasant visually as it is a love story and at the same time with interesting dialogues as the story is about delicate love. The greatest concept of Tagore, love as an eternal journey. .

What has been your most memorable moment so far in your movie making journey?

My memorable moments are that I could direct good movies. That am capable enough.

What are some of the biggest challenges you face in today’s film space? 

As am not in commercial space and focusing only on art house films so I don’t face any challenge as I organize everything according to my convenience.

How do you write your stories? Tell us a bit about your creative process.

For me writing a story is a very easy process. It comes to me spontaneously. I just need to figure out about the topic. I write mostly in one go. It usually takes me a couple of hours to pen down a story.

You were selected to perform at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2011. Tell us a bit about your experience there.

Edinburgh fringe festival is one of greatest creative experience of my life. My play ” We Draupadis and Sitas” which was written by me, a modern interpretation of the 2 famous Indian epic Mahabharata and Ramayana where I picked up 2 leading female characters and analysed them from today’s perspectives. We performed 14 shows to a wonderful western audience who took the trouble to understand the play and loved it. The play received 3 raving reviews from UK press and we were rated by the fringe as one of the top productions that year.

The whole concept of the fringe, the organization, the audience was to die for. Where else in the world does one get such audience who has gathered from all over the world just to watch plays?

I myself watched awesome plays by other companies and learnt so much more of experimental plays.

So what’s happening next? What projects are you looking to work on?

Right now am working on a psychological horror film. My first was psychological drama, second is romantic story and so the third has to be something different.

Lastly, your advice to aspiring film makers?

For all the creative people who want to be a filmmaker, only thing I can say, just do it. Take the risk. It’s worth it. Don’t get scared. Plunge. It’s a great world out there.

I leave you with the trailer of A Holiday and A Picnic.

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