Prajna Dutta, who is a final year of student at Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata, studying Direction and Screenplay writing and a disciple of Amyt Datta and other such great musicians is ready with his debut Indi-pop album “Yaadon Mein”. Prajna, while talking about his dreams and aspirations with Sholoana Bangaliana correspondent Priyanka Dutta spoke at length about his debut album as well as his documentary on the musical life of Amyt Datta entitled, “The Sound Wanderer” which shall be produced by Films Division India. Excerpts……
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: You are currently studying direction and screenplay writing at SRFTI. How is that helping in your making of films? And how are you balancing studies with so many other things like composing music, sound designing and so on?
Prajna Dutta: SRFTI changed my perspective of looking at cinema and I wouldn’t be making any kind of audio visual presentation today if I had not been injected with a deep passion for expressing experiences through the audio visual form.
Actually I am not balancing anything; everything is simply falling into place since for me expressing myself honestly is of immense importance and in order to do that I need to use different forms. For example what can be expressed through a song might not be expressed through a photograph and what can be expressed through a sound might not be expressed through a movement. Hence as an artist I simply express myself keeping this in mind and this is the precise reason why I need to shift from one form of art to another.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: You are not only passionate about films, but also equally love music. How do you balance both the passions?
Prajna Dutta: For me music and films are a way of life I cannot live without them. If my day begins with vocal exercises then it is quickly followed by trying out another cut at my home edit setup or if on someday it begins with doodling on the guitar then it is followed by trying out another way of approaching the end of a work in progress script. And even when I am simply traveling, or reading or watching life around me I am constantly correlating and searching for ideas, plots, sounds, shapes and experiences that enrich my way of life.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: Pandit V.G. Jog, Amyt Datta, Julian Marshall, Hamish Hossain- you have been trained under reputed musicians as a student. How has that helped in the development of your musical sensibilities?
Prajna Dutta: Well, I have been fortunate enough to have had an opportunity to hone my musical potential under such great gurus. And all my teachers have unanimously agreed that music is more important than the medium used to communicate that music and all music can exist harmoniously without any feud among them. Hence I love experimenting with all forms of music and am not at all concerned about conforming to a particular genre.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: You have performed as a choir singer. Can you share with us some of the experiences of working in a choir?
Prajna Dutta: I performed as a part of the choir in the opera show, “Violetta a Traviata(2008) organized by Neemrana Music Foundation with artistes from Italy and France and in “Si Jetais Roi(2010), Organized by Neemrana Music Foundation with artistes from France, Srilanka and India .It was simply amazing to be part of a choir amidst so many different vocal textures and people who have deep respect and understanding for music. I still remember how we used to spend hours at a stretch for getting the correct overall feel and tone. You truly realize the importance of teamwork when you have to listen to each other’s voices and co ordinate with the orchestra and the solo vocalists to deliver an organized piece of art.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: Your Indi-pop album “Yaadon Mein” will be releasing soon on Rooh Music. Tell us something about the album.
Prajna Dutta: This album marks my debut as a singer songwriter. The album has 7 tracks and the musical palette is very diverse. For example there is a track in the album called, “Rangeen”, it is a kind of a Reggae meets Blues Rock track, then there is “Aasma Se” which is a Country meets Contemporary track, I can actually go on, the point being all the tracks have elements of more than one genre. The lyrics on the other hand are simple and convey fragments from honest feelings which come out of recollection.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: You are making a film on the musical life of Amyt Datta. When will you start shooting and who will be in the cast of this film?
Prajna Dutta: It is a documentary entitled, “The Sound Wanderer”, it is being produced by Films Division India and directed by me. Right now we are in the pre production stage, we start shoot in the middle of June and the documentary will feature Amyt Datta and people who have seen him grow as a musician like Monojit Dutta, Jayashree Singh, Nondon Bagchi , Ehsaan Noorani and Anjan Dutta.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: Director of photography, sound designer, musician, film maker- you are a person with multi-faceted qualities. How do you handle so many things?
Prajna Dutta: Firstly I do not consider myself to be anything more than an artist trying to express himself honestly through different mediums. And whenever I have felt strongly for a project I have tried to contribute to the best of my abilities not thinking in which capacity I may have to work. I have worked in the capacity of director of photography and sound designer in my collaborative projects with ace musicologist Somjit DasGupta and made “Surer Simana”, a short documentary which premiered in February 2013 at University of Chicago’s graduate research workshop in Ethnomusicology on “Musical Instruments across the Bengal Borderlands”. And in the documentation on ‘the making of musical instruments’ in Kolkata, India, for The Ethnologisches Museum der Staatlichen Museen Zu Berlin entitled “Sarodiyo Bin”. As a music composer I have composed for documentaries like “Trance in Motion”, “Yes We Can”, “The Pata Story”, “Tales of Climate Change” and for the controversial Bengali movie “Nandigramer Chokher Paani”.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: What do you enjoy more- directing films, composing music, photography or sound designing?
Prajna Dutta: I enjoy expressing myself, the medium is secondary. As long as I can express myself, I am enjoying.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: You are more into making short films and documentaries. Will you not try your hands at making the commercial films?
Prajna Dutta: Maybe, I don’t know what the future holds for me.
Priyanka Dutta, Sholoana Bangaliana: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Prajna Dutta: Never thought about it.
Artists like Prajna have always made Bengal proud and we wish this talented young musician the Very Best for his Future Endeavors!!
Interviewer: Priyanka Dutta
Priyanka Dutta takes a keen interest in lifestyle and entertainment related news. She also enjoys interviewing celebrities and other renowned personalities. Priyanka holds a post graduate degree in English and Mass Communication. Journalism is her passion and she has reported for many a reputed international web portals.