YouTuber Aritra Banerjee talks about his upcoming directorial venture Ekalavya
Full-length feature film Ekalavya will see the light of the day by mid-April
The digital boom has made millennials and the Gen-Z shift focus on a broader spectrum of content and audience. City boy Aritra Banerjee has carved his own platform in the digital content creation world with his channel Aritra’s Gyan. He is now working harder than ever, towards his filmmaking passion. After multiple stints like Writer’s Block and Naxal, Aritra’s latest outing Ekalavya rounds down on a complex tale of love and crime. Starring talented young actors Devtanu and Annmary Tom as leads, full-length feature film Ekalavya will see the light of the day by mid-April. We speak to the young film buff ahead of its release.
Filmmaking or film reviewing, which of the two happened first?
Contrary to what most might think, filmmaking happened way before I ventured into film reviewing. I have been a film-buff since time immemorial, and my passion only intensified while I was in college. My exposure to world cinema during my college days further made me consider the world of cinema as a possible career path. After two years of vigorous research on filmmaking and film editing, I started making short films. I eventually started participating in film festivals such as Kolkata Short Film Festival organised by Chitrabani in Kolkata and India Film Project in Mumbai. However, we soon realised viewership declined as soon as we uploaded the projects on YouTube. It was around 2017, that my college mate and fellow content creator The Bong Guy aka Kiran Dutta inspired me by cracking the digital content making scenario in Kolkata. That is how I began uploading film reviews on YouTube, and eventually landed an opportunity with Anupama Chopra’s Film Companion. This opened new doors for me to start making films professionally, and my first commercial short was Naxal in 2021 starring Saurav Das.
You have made a mark with brutally honest film reviews. Are you apprehensive ahead of your film release, now that you are making films?
I realised that audiences have their own biases and many have challenged me to make a film as good as the one I critiqued in my YouTube channel. Honestly, I don’t feel too jittery about criticism since it only helps me learn. I work with a very close knit crew each time I am making films and it makes us overlook a lot of aspects that we could possibly do better. Reviews and criticism from the audience only help us do better with each project. I also consider myself lucky to have a lot of support from industry seniors who I might have reviewed at some point.
How experimentative are you as a filmmaker?
I try to narrow down on a genre before making any film making decisions, out of which I find comedy the most challenging part. I know comedy is not exactly my strong point, and I am trying to get better at it. I also know what I am good at, such as thrillers. Keeping these in mind, I try not to get too experimentative with areas that can go out of hand.