Tell a story, bring in the crowds

Sarthak Dasgupta, director of Great Indian Butterfly (GIB) — starring Aamir Bashir, Sandhya Mridul, Koel Purie and Barry John — is known to bag critical accolades from several quarters. This year, he won the Sundance Global Filmmaker Award, for his script, The Music Teacher. But putting all this aside, he is set to make heads turn by engaging with crowds for one of his earlier scripts, Cutthroat.

Director Sarthak Dasgupta

Cutthroat hinges on the “third semester” juncture in a B-school student’s life when the placement period starts introducing a dark period of distrust, betrayal and predictably, “cutthroat” competition. Looking back at his own metamorphosis, Dasgupta comments, “After my post-graduation in Finance, I was working with Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI). However, my engagement with the ’95 Film and Television Institute of India batch had influenced me. That batch was legendary. It included people like Pritam, Resul Pookutty and cinematographer Shankaram who also shot my first film, GIB.”

Dasgupta is looking to crowdfund Cutthroat, a project that he thought up after two and a half years of passing out from Symbiosis Institute of Management Studies with an MBA in Finance. “It was in 2000 that I wrote Cutthroat, which was a sketchy script on an MBA school, but at that point I thought that it is a very niche subject.” Interestingly, although now, the topic couldn’t be more mainstream than what it currently is, Dasgupta has taken the road less travelled.

Poster of the film Cutthroat. Pic courtesy/ Sonia Recchia

“Recently, when I met my engineering junior who had started Catapooolt, a crowdfunding platform, I thought of it. I am in favour of it for two reasons. I want to make a slightly intelligent film that isn’t easy to understand. When I say that what I mean is I don’t want to do the yuppie, wannabe portrayal of the youth, which I find unreal. It is too amateurish, like a Karan Johar-ish take on things. So, obviously I did not want to go in for many compromises.”

Panning out the second reason, Dasgupta shares, “I want people to get involved and have a platform where they can interact, share anecdotes, and eventually, when inculcated in the film, relate to those incidents. I want it to be a community project as money is not the focus; I am raising a small amount for the development of the film as it won’t suffice for the making of the film.” Summing it, he says, “I want people to live it, not simply watch it.” A Facebook group is operational and an FB page is anticipated. “We are also looking at doing several on-campus events and contests for Rock bands. There’ll be lots to involve people in the near future,” shares an upbeat Dasgupta.

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