Short-filmmaker Souradeep Datta’s Colour Palette of a Soldier is a riveting take on tolls of war
His desire to wear many hats at the same time led him to filmmaking. “I wanted to be a musician, an avid photographer and a storyteller all at the same time. I realised that cinema could perhaps be the only medium where I can be all of this simultaneously,” says budding filmmaker Souradeep Datta, who has made some very interesting experimental shorts with his latest film, Colour Palette of a Soldier getting selected for screening at the upcoming Kolkata International Short Film Festival.
This two-minute short with a riveting soundscape has already struck all the right chords with critics and audience alike at Istanbul International Experimental Short Film Festival and Moscow Shorts and has cleared the first two rounds of selection at the Oscar-qualifying Atlanta Film Festival. “I am extremely happy with the kind responses the film is eliciting,” says the confident 27-year-old.
Colour Palette of a Soldier is all about the permanent scars that war leaves behind in a soldier’s mind. This absurd and abstract short deftly puts across the point in vivid contrasting colours and metaphors. “It takes a lot to kill a person on the battleground. Every bullet fired, also ends up killing a part of the man’s soul who is pulling the trigger,” adds Datta.
Datta has always tried to portray issues that deeply affect our society with his debut film Rust and the Goldfish portraying the effects of unemployment in the society. It was screened at the South Asian Short Film Festival held at Nandan in 2018. Interestingly this self-taught filmmaker doesn’t work with any known faces, preferring trained emerging actors instead.
His third short, Secrets, is also a gripping drama depicting how secrets get unravelled the more you try to brush them under the carpet. The film is nine minutes long and has been shot in the midst of snowcapped mountains in Auli in Uttarakhand. But sadly, Souradeep feels that there’s no impetus for short filmmakers like him in Kolkata, where producers want to play it safe with time-tested formulaic movies that appeal to the box office. “Thankfully, some emerging platforms like Moviesaints and Mycinemahall are providing platforms for independent and authentic work,” says Datta, who finds web series a bit of a drag and waste of time.
“I feel short films will be the future since people now have no patience to engage in anything that’s very time-consuming,” adds the director, who is planning to shoot his fourth in the coming winter, which is about how we are all prisoners of our own mind.
When asked how he wants to grow as a filmmaker, Datta says, “Eventually I would too love to make a full-length feature but it requires a good budget. So for now, I am happy making shorts and exploring my own cinematic language and signature. I love playing around with symbols and metaphors and keep my films open-ended for the audience to interpret it in their own ways.”