In a manner like has never been done and unravelling a subject often too complicated to decipher, movie director Samujjal Kashyap is setting the records straight with his new title, “Arranged”. Carefully packaged and represented, movie lovers are yet again regaled with another cinematic masterpiece; a tale of a middle-aged couple (in their 40s), brought together through the traditional Indian union of an arranged marriage.
With utmost experience and storytelling prowess, he brings the characters alive with several Assamese sweethearts like Lima Das and Ranjeev Lal Barua. Scripted and co-produced by Harsh Siddhant, this “22 minute” film has gained quite a large buzz following its release, raking in an impressive 200,000 organic views (still counting) in a short span of time, and is set to positively change the standards of the entertainment industry forever.
With numerous awards adorning his shelf including the award for the “Best Music Video Director” which he has received four times, Kashyap truly has cemented his place as an authority in the entertainment industry with “Arranged”. Kashyap, hailing from Barpeta district in Assam, realized his passion for directing early enough and has pursued it without looking back ever since. Having completed a two-and-a-half-year diploma course in animation and designing from Arena Animations, a three-year course on advanced visual effects called from MAAC Bangalore, and film editing from Manipal Institute of Media and Entertainment, he set out to follow his dream with vigor.
Before he got into movie directing, Kashyap tested other waters like music video directing. He acknowledges that although music video directing happened accidentally, it was a blessing in disguise. “It was once when Assam’s popular singer Zublee Baruah had asked me to direct a video. I was skeptical because of the shoestring budget. But I finally did it. I am thankful that Zublee approached me, otherwise, I wouldn’t have explored the music video direction aspect,” he said.
He has since directed over 60 music videos, 10 highly-acclaimed documentary movies, 10 award-winning short films, and over 400 episodes of television series. One work you’ll certainly remember him for was his breakout project, “Tezpur 1962”; the documentary film, directed by Kashyap, won the National Film Award for “Best Investigating Film” in 2016.
His recent work, “Arranged”, tells a soulful and touching story of Jayanta who from the days of his youth carried an awkward and introverted personality into the main world. Unfortunately for Jayanta, his introverted personality prevented him from nurturing the connection he felt with Jurima; a prima donna from his set in high school. However, as he clocks 45 years, Jayanta marries Jurima after she becomes widowed after a failed arranged marriage. The movie centers around the challenges introverts and people with socially awkward personalities usually face and how they manage to navigate through life and relationships.
Before becoming the well sought-after director that he is, Kashyap overcame several hurdles and challenges on his journey to success. In this interview, Kashyap let us into his journey and how he has strived through it all.
“Like other states in India have top-notch studios, I too wanted to build one in Assam. However, at that time, between 2009 and 2010, there wasn’t much work. And for quality work that was available, the budget was an issue. I also wanted to make high-quality ad films. But in Assam, we don’t really have many corporate offices. Thus, things weren’t working out initially.
“Films work well here but then the budget is not really high. I want to do certain projects but then again there has always been a lack of budget. I could have worked in other metro cities and earned twice but call me an ‘emotional fool’ I am very much attached to my land and people,” he says.
The idea for this movie came about quite simply in collaboration with amazing colleagues. “When Ranjeev came to me with the story, I was also thinking of starting a YouTube channel. I instantly fell in love with the script that Harsh wrote. I was the last one to come on board.
“This film worked because the team worked as one, we all wanted to move in the same direction. I plan to work on more such films,” he mused.
Speaking on the directors that have inspired his rise to fame, Kashyap says there are quite too many to mention. While Christopher Edward Nolan, the British-American film director, producer, and screenwriter is his idol, however, there are several great filmmakers in the Assamese industry that have inspired him. A few of them he mentions include the late Munin Baruah and Bidyut Chakrabarty, who he said to have helped him a lot in the initial start of his career.
He also highlights a few upcoming on-screen actors that he would love to work with. He lists “Kamal Lochan, Achinta Raj Kashyap, Arghadeep Barua, and Deeplina Deka, who has quickly built a fanbase”.
After the success of this project, Kashyap has several upcoming projects that his loyal fans can look forward to. “I am going through many stories. We’re planning to do the second part of ‘Arranged’, maybe by year-end or next year. Other than that, talks are ongoing for a web series project, but nothing has been finalised yet,” he says.
It is a joy to many that this established director isn’t slowing down any time soon, as he plans to continue to do what he does best; blessing the screens of his fans with breathtaking visuals.
Watch the movie here: