He has been a geologist, have worked in the IT and banking sector and is now ready to release his first film as a director. Abhijit Deonath, who has written and directed the Rajeev Khandelwal starrer ‘Salt Bridge’, is a man of many talents. He has also written and composed the seven songs of his debut film, all of which were shortlisted in the Original Song category for the 88th Academy Awards. In this interview, he talks about ‘Salt Bridge’, getting Rajeev Khandelwal on board for the film, getting into filmmaking after dabbling in different professions over the years and what he is making next.
How did this film take shape?
I come from a literature background, so I have always been inclined towards writing and telling stories. I wanted to reinvent myself as a literary person, so I started writing this story. When the story got completed, I thought it will make for an interesting film. That is how the process of making this film started.
Is it based on a real-life event?
You get inspired by the incidents around you and weave stories. That is true for every piece of literature and film out there. I must have been sub-consciously inspired by a few incidents while making the film but the film is not inspired from any particular event as such.
Do you have formal training in filmmaking?
I do not have any formal training in theatre. Most of my professional career is based on the informal education I have received in life through practical experiences. I am not a great believer in formal education.
You have spent a lot of years in Australia. Do you still live there?
Yes, I still live in Australia. I have come to Mumbai for a short period of time to promote the film. I have worked in different areas throughout my professional career. I started out as a geologist. Then, I worked on some projects in the IT sector. Later, I worked in the banking sector as well. I am a visiting faculty at the Australian National University. I have a strong inclination towards science. I keep doing scientific research. I am involved in projects related to science popularisation and inter-disciplinary science in India. I visited Chennai recently for the same and will be going to Hyderabad soon.
How did you get into filmmaking after working across such different professions?
Filmmaking is ultimately about telling stories. A formal system of education cannot teach you anything about creativity. You can teach people how to edit a video or handle a camera but you cannot teach somebody to create something from the scratch.
Was it easy to get Rajeev Khandelwal on board for the film?
I spoke to him about the film and he asked me to send the script to him. After reading the script, he told me he felt as if he was reading a piece of literature and not a film script. That was a huge compliment. After that, making the film was quite a smooth process.
Seven songs from the film were shortlisted in the Original Song category for the 88th Academy Awards.
Yes, that is true. This seems even more special as I have written and composed the songs myself. I hope people like the music when it comes out. There is an Academy in Los Angeles where screenplays of films from all over the world are archived. They had asked me to send the script of ‘Salt Bridge’ to be archived there. I feel hugely honoured to think that my script is kept in the same archival with the scripts of the some of the best films made in the world.
What are you making next?
I have a variety of concepts lying with me. They are spread across several genres such as sci-fi, social drama and thriller. Right now, I just want on focus on ensuring a good release for ‘Salt Bridge’. Post the release of the film, I will be in a better frame of mind to decide what I will be making next.