SHASWATA KUNDU CHAUDHURI, Kolkata: Media teacher and documentary filmmaker Subha Das Mollick laments the lack of culture of watching or screening documentaries in the country. She recently gave a talk at the 59th session of Adda@Maya held at Maya Art Space, Kolkata.
“Unfortunately, there is no culture of watching or showcasing documentaries in our country except for a handful of film festivals,” said the maker of over 50 documentaries. Five of those are completely independent projects including The Phoenix and Crosswinds over Icchamati.
Her muse seems to be Kolkata. Her latest documentary Dwelling in Travelling, which was premiered at the Kolkata International Film Festival, deals with the dwindling population of Jews in the city and their traditions.
“While making this documentary, I learnt a lot about the diverse cultures of Kolkata,” said the former Physics teacher. Another documentary Calcutta Sonata talks about piano manufacturers and musicians in Kolkata.
Mollick was attracted to the world of filmmaking since childhood. She started out making educational stories and later shifted to full-fledged documentaries.
Being fascinated by all things old, she started a project in 2015 called Our Living Memory. Conducting workshops in various schools, she asked students to collect old artefacts and the stories behind those from the elders in the family which would eventually go into constructing and deconstructing the history of the family and the house. “If interesting things came out, then an exhibition was held,” she smiled.
Her current pet project The Magic of My School, however, deals with the history of the schools and the buildings. Students dig up old facts about their alma mater or what existed in that area before the school came up. “Earlier, the students had to dig up history of their homes and now they had to do the same in their schools,” she said. “The students went around the area, talking to elderly citizens and finding out the history of the area.”
Watch the trailer of Calcutta Sonata: