Kolkata born Aritra Das started his career as a producer in Mumbai last year with his 27 minutes short film Cakewalk under the banner of Assorted Motion Pictures. The film was acquired by Viacom18 and became India’s first short length feature film to be aired on a movie satellite television. “It might sound like a Cakewalk, but it was not. Everyone laughed at us saying why are we wasting our time and money in a short film because there was no recovery module in place. They would smile at us saying that ‘Kaha pe release karoge? YouTube ka koi recovery nahin hai’ etc. But fortunately, I had Dinesh Gupta and Shailendra Kumar who showed faith in our vision and stood by us. Now people give Cakewalk as an example and it’s created a benchmark in short film category,” says Aritra who completed engineering from Kolkata and worked in Dubai in his initial days.
With his second film Season’s Greetings: A Tribute to Rituparno Ghosh, he feels that the film will set yet another benchmark. “I think we need more people like Tarun Katial and platforms like Zee5, who can evaluate content and encourage independent makers like us. We are passionate about our content and if we get a little support from OTT platforms then I think we can do far better,” says Aritra, whose 50 minute feature will be premiered on Zee5 post Diwali.
Aritra launched Assorted Motion Pictures with his partners Ram Kamal Mukherjee and Sarbani Mukherjee in Mumbai three years ago. “We wanted to make films, but we didn’t have any financial support. All we knew that one day we will suceed. But we never expected that the journey would be this tough. From mortgaging jewelries to selling our fixed deposits, we went through rough patches. And such incidents made us strong as an individual. Today when people see the tattoo of Cakewalk on my hand, I tell them proudly that its a part of my soul, just like the tattoo,” says Aritra on an emotional note.
Aritra produced four films in one year, which is a sort of record for any budding production house. “After Cakewalk, we took time to make Season’s Greetings. But our Bengali film Rickshawala and Hindi short Broken Frame happened in quick succession. Now we are gearing for our fifth and sixth project in next two months. It takes time to establish and understand the nitty gritty of the business,” avers Aritra.
Who does he see as rivals? “I am my own rival. I set higher benchmark in whatever I do. I fail at times, but I don’t give up. I know that we can only excel when we fail. Everyone tells me that why are we not making feature films? Why are we making content only for OTT? I want to tell them that we can see the future, and it’s high time even they get their vision corrected,” laughs Aritra.
Season’s Greetings is directed by author turned filmmaker Ram Kamal Mukherjee, stars Celina Jaitly Haag and Lillette Dubey. The film is co produced by Shailendra Kumar under SS1 Entertainment. “We are committed to our audiences and we will make films that would bring smile to their faces,” signs off Aritra.