Bedabrata Pain was a scientist at NASA with a promising career. He followed his gut instinct and got into filmmaking in spite of his non-filmi background. Unfortunately, things got delayed for the rookie filmmaker, as his opening project, Chittagong, based on Indian revolutionary Surya Sen faced obstacles. Fortunately, the film, co-produced by Anurag Kashyap, is all set to release.
From science to direction, how did the change happen?
I couldn’t be a director at NASA so I became the director of a movie (laughs). I was always interested in arts, painting and music. While working at NASA, I got caught up in a whirlpool of exciting stuff and now am back on track. My stint with science will continue but I want to see what I can do in the cinematic arena.
How’s your new avatar of a filmmaker treating you?
There is something called beginner’s luck and I am riding on it. In 2006-’07, I was getting ready to leave NASA, I knew I was not really the entrepreneur type. When I started writing Chittagong, my friends wanted to hear the story and I realised that I can write exciting stuff so here’s what I’m doing.
Chittagong was shot a few years ago. What is the reason for delay?
The major reason was my son Ishaan’s death. He was doing Chemistry honours when I was in the process of shooting Chittagong and his death came as a shock to me. He passed away in a freak accident. After that, a series of unavoidable things happened and the film’s release got delayed.
You’ve sung a song in the movie as a tribute to Ishaan?
The entire film is a tribute to him. Prasoon Joshi was so moved that he composed the song called Ishaan and I sang it.
You have shot the movie with a red camera, was it a challenge?
I have actually invented the Digital Camera Technology. I am aware of the CMOS-active pixel censor core technology in every digital camera from cell phone camera to space camera. I know the censor in the red camera inside out. It was quite a challenge in a way that now technology has advanced. At that time in 2009, many people did not know about the red camera. We did some crazy things with the camera but it never failed. Also unlike the other Bollywood movies that are shot very grittily, I wanted to shoot in very soft light and keep the radiance and innocence intact.
Are you fond of any particular genre?
I am sucker for romance. I’ve woven a romantic story in Chittagong.
What else do you like to do besides writing?
I like sketching, I love painting and that is how I communicated with my crew also while shooting for Chittagong. I used to draw and show how I want the scenes to be shot. Sketching also got me into trouble during my PhD days. In a group meeting, I was sketching a girl’s picture who was sitting next to me and my professor thought I was taking down notes very attentively. Only when he saw my notebook, he realised my attention was on the sketch and not the notes! I also love doing theatre and listening to music.
Any plans to get into acting then?
(Laughs) No I have no plans of becoming an actor. Being a director in itself is a difficult enough job. I need to be on my toes all the time and check every nuance of acting. I am a newcomer here and my skills should be best left to direction. I marvel at directors who can act but I would want to leave it to others.
What are your future projects?
I will start writing another script which is a love story based in the times of political turmoil as soon as Chittagong hits the marquee.
So what happens to your scientific pursuits?
Now I’m an outsider in the science field! I just touched upon a few things while working with NASA and those things were exciting. Now I will do more research on them especially in the experimental and theoretical areas.