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Lyaad -- A universal feeling

Ritwick and Pradipta on their musical short and celebrating laziness

By Priyanka Roy (Intern) in Calcutta

  • Published 12.01.20, 11:09 PM
  • Updated 13.01.20, 4:10 AM
Ritwick Chakraborty
Ritwick Chakraborty Pabitra Das

After making critically acclaimed films like Bakita Byaktigato and Rajlokhi O Srikanto, actor and director Ritwick Chakraborty and Pradipta Bhattacharyya are back with a project for the digital platform — a musical short film titled Lyaad. This also happens to be a film that makes the use of the technique of animation. The film dropped across social media platforms on January 11. t2 caught up with the actor-director duo at The Astor for a chat on lyaad in life and more...

Why a musical short?

Pradipta: Producers gave the name. Musical in cinema terminology is different. Here the music is very important in this short film. I am doing it for the first time.

How was it conceived ?

Pradipta: ICE Media Lab, who are the producers of the film, approached me with an idea for a film, which focuses on Bengalis’ lyaad. I liked it. Then they told me that they want to do it with animation and that triggered for me. Animation with a live character is something I felt was quite challenging.

What does the word lyaad mean to you ?

Ritwick: I was not familiar with the term before entering college but whatever we understand by lyaad in general I have been doing all of that since I was a child (laughs). I got familiar with the word after growing up. Now at this age I don’t say the word lyaad often as such, but still whatever we understand by lyaad I still do it. And as a person I love relaxing... even when I am working a part of me is in lyaad (laughs).

Pradipta: I agree with Ritwick. For me lyaad means there will be a bed, a pillow and there will be food around. I don’t need to get up... maybe read a book... I don’t need to take calls, do whatever I want while lying on bed (laughs).

In the film, is the concept of lyaad being shown in the same way or is there a different perspective being added to it ?

Pradipta: A different perspective... in the sense, the kind of lives we lead today, the systemic structure that we are a part of, people are being forced to succumb to the structure and there’s no other way out of it. Our character in the film does that too, and since he is a part of a system his wife also gives him pressure and probably stays under pressure herself too. To come out of the pressure of a corporate giant is quite difficult.

Do you feel lyaad is very Bengali-centric?

Ritwick: I think laziness is something we all feel but for many years Bengalis have celebrated this. Bengalis’ laziness and love for it, I believe, has also given them a lot. It is not always that people enjoy doing nothing; sometimes people do that out of sadness. Whenever I am feeling good by not doing anything, it plays a positive role in doing something bigger. So, Bengalis have been at the receiving end of both the positive and negative aspect of lyaad (laughs).

Pradipta: Bengalis find peace with only two things in life — one is adda and the other is lyaad. However, that is becoming lesser with every passing day.

Ritwick: It is like a bit of protesting also. Like challenging the system with lyaad.

Why did you think of shooting it with animation technique ?

Pradipta: With animation we can do anything; think a lot out of the box.

Ritwick: I also feel that this film could not have been made without the help of animation.

Pradipta: I think it is better to call it a short film using a new technique. It will not be a new technique for everyone though.

Ritwick: But people will see a different thing. I feel the visual experience will be very different.

Do you think there’s space for Bengali films to explore more with technology and it is not done as often as it should be or are there any major constraints?

Pradipta: Yes, restrictions, limitation is definitely a reason. The market for this kind of films is comparatively low. Our budget and time are limited and an important part of animation is budget and time. But I feel if we stylise a bit then it is possible. I actually want to explore more of animation.

What are some of the major challenges you faced while making this film?

Pradipta: Major challenge was the thought process... execution was definitely a challenge but mostly it was the thought process. How to do it? How will it finally look? We are generally used to this through live action, where there is a set. But for this we had to imagine at every step. Ritwick’s acting was also based on imagination. And improvising... that was quite interesting. The conjunction between Ritwick’s improvisation and animation is amazing.

Was the acting process different?

Ritwick: Yes, at one level it was very different because I had to imagine everything while acting, there’s no set pattern actually. There’s only a green screen. So there’s only me, not even any props, I had to imagine the props too.

You are the only live character in the film. How was the shooting process different and what were the challenges you faced?

Ritwick: There were many challenges actually. As Pradipta said, I had to imagine everything and do, that was a challenge but that challenge was really enjoyable. I really want to do this kind of acting, but such opportunities are very rare. And it is not just me, the whole unit is doing it together. Even the cameraman is imagining whatever is happening. I drove a car, got down and ran towards a lift... and I did all of this while standing against a wall. So I had to imagine this whole scene in my head.

Pradipta: Then eating a chilli when there’s actually no chilli!

Ritwick: Yes, this will help us to make many more films. It was a great experience. I am curious to see the film.

How are you being featured?

Ritwick: As a stressed-out man and one day he gets an opportunity to spend life like he wants.

What makes your bond so special?

Pradipta: We are friends beyond our work.

Ritwick: Our bond helps us in our work too. We know each other for a long time, we are friends since a long time and did a lot of work together, obviously this aspect has an impact on the work we do.

Pradipta: Like I don’t need to explain Ritwick anything.

Ritwick: Yes, to understand each other is a great thing. Since we know each other, we can relate to each other’s thoughts very easily and communication is also great that way.

Pradipta: This bond obviously leads to great experiences. It’s not that we both are making something grand, but rather we are making something fun together.

What are the things that you have learnt about each other for the first time?

Ritwick: We have stayed with each other for seven years so knowing each other better only while doing a film is not possible. For seven years we have spent nights together in the same house, so it is not possible that we will know each other differently while doing one film. We already know a lot about each other.

Pradipta: There are no new developments in our life as such. (both laugh)

What are the three things we don’t know about both of you yet?

Ritwick: Pradipta smokes while eating rice.

Pradipta: Ritwick loves magic. He cooks Jeera Chicken really well.

Ritwick: Pradipta can type really fast.

What are your plans for 2020?

Pradipta: To be more organised.

Ritwick: This is a resolution we make every year, that we won’t indulge in lyaad and will be more organised but every year we fail to execute it!