Interdisciplinary artiste Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee charts new course during the pandemic
Only a handful of artistes from the Bengal culturescape have successfully leveraged the online platforms to showcase their work and earn. Interdisciplinary artiste Sujoy Prosad Chatterjee surely is one of them. Like many, Sujoy saw the uncertain times as an opportunity to experiment with the online space. And it yielded him a mixed response, encouraging him to improvise and explore the space further through his art collective SPCkraft. Besides filming his first silent short, Home, and acting in a web series, Sujoy is ready to celebrate 100 years of Visva-Bharati online. Excerpts from a chat.
You have been arranging a lot of online events during the pandemic. Tell us about the response?
I couldn’t imagine a reach of more than 25,000 for a commemorative programme on the celebrated late poet Shankha Ghosh. I sought to keep my sanity and heal through arts during the pandemic. Sing er-composer Rupam Islam was a frontrunner in showing us the way with digital events and singer Rupankar Bagchi showed us how to perform and earn money online. I can’t say that my digital events have been a success to that level but what has helped me sustain is when I started teaching elocution through the online wing of SPCkraft.
Tell us about your plans for Visva-Bharati’s centenary celebrations?
2021 marks the centenary year of Visva Bharati and SPCkraft has collaborated with Mohorbeethika Angan, a multidisciplinary heritage space in Santiniketan to take this forward. The programme titled Shikkhateertho is a pre-recorded video documentation featuring cultural luminaries like Supriyo Tagore, Pramita Mallick, Dr Martin Kaempchen, Basabi Fraser, Lysa Ahmed Lisa and performing artistes like Srikanto Acharya, Bratati Bandopadhyay, Sasha Ghoshal, Priyam Mukherjee, Ritapa Bhattacharya and other members of the collective. What I intend to envisage through this programme is how a legacy of values and ideals founded by Rabindranath Tagore is gradually losing its sheen.
What about your debut short, Home?
Home, inspired by a poem written by Arundhathi Subramaniam explores the facets of the gender binary, sexuality and solitude. Due to the pandemic, we couldn’t begin post-production work. I intend to send it to a few festivals before releasing it on a digital platform.
What are your other projects?
There’s an Indo Bangla Monsoon Festival co-curated by Rabindra Sangit vocalist Suchhanda Ghosh on June 18. We have an eclectic mix of personalities including Jaya Ahsan, Shimul Mustafa, Abir Chatterjee, Shama Rahman and Bijoylaksmi Burman. With this show, I actually travel back to my roots of non-proscenium days when holding a live chat in cafés was anything but fashionable. I have started a virtual weekend chat show called Shonibarer Golpogujob where I have already featured actor Ankush.
Shikkhateertho opens tomorrow on SPCkraft’s Facebook page at 9 pm.