She started her career as a sports journalist, made a documentary on an iconic cricketer and has now forayed into the world of feature films with ’22 Yards’. In this interview, debutante director Mitali Ghoshal talks about her debut feature film, journey from being a sports journalist to a filmmaker, working with Barun Sobti and more.
You have been a sports journalist. Is that the reason your first feature film ’22 Yards’ revolves around the world of cricket?
No, I just wanted to tell a story and coincidentally, it happened to revolve around the world of cricket. I got a good story from Samrat, the writer. Samrat and I were working together on a documentary on Sourav Ganguly called ‘Warrior Prince’. That is when he shared the idea of the film to with me. I really liked it and we decided to take it forward.
How did the idea of making a documentary on Sourav Ganguly come to you?
I was covering a match and while watching the match, I told my colleague that I want to make a documentary on Sourav Ganguly. Shooting the documentary was a good experience. It was shown on ESPN and Star Sports. I did not set out to make money out of it but I should have got a little more credit for it.
When did you decide to become a filmmaker?
I was into hardcore journalism. Most of the sportsperson used to hate me because I used to ask them tough questions. My father was in films and I grew up on a good diet of cinema and theatre. I was very active in sports in school, so I ended up becoming a sports journalist. I am not a person who plans things. After making the documentary, the desire to make a feature film seeped in.
Was there a struggle involved in getting your first feature film on the floors?
It was a huge struggle. We faced difficulties at every step. There not too many people who encourage new filmmakers and put their money in content-driven films. Making the film was tough and ensuring its release was even tougher. We finished shooting in early 2017 and then, there was a lot of work in the post which took some time.
Barun Sobti is a huge name on television. Was it difficult to get him on board?
No, Barun is a very open-minded person. If he likes a script he will be completely committed to it. When we narrated the script to him he immediately said yes. I still remember there was a lot of excitement on his face. Barun is a wonderful human being and very easy to work with.
You are from Kolkata. Is that the reason you have set the film there?
The story was set in Kolkata from the beginning as it was inspired from a lot of characters in the city. The film is based on the events I have seen and the characters I have met as a sports journalist. The story is of primary importance. Tomorrow, I could make a film in Punjab if I get a good story which is based there.
What are you doing next?
Right now, we are halfway through the scripting stage. It will be very different from ’22 Yards’.