‘Kids should build knowledge, not buildings’

Bhubaneswar: ‘His’ anguish is reflected through his vision and vision reflected through his films. How ‘he’ sees the world and questions it for the odds. ‘He’ is Soham Dutta, a first-year student of Film and Television Production who has recently won second prize from Unicef and a voluntary organization in a short film competition on child rights titled ‘Building knowledge’.

In his film, he has raised a very simple question: why can’t every child get a life of their choice? Why can’t he or she fill his or her life with joy and happiness with the hands with which they have to lift the weight for earning livelihood?

In his own words, “The subjects were child exploitation and the sub categories were sexual abuse, child marriage, corporal punishment and child labour. I chose the last one. There is no particular reason behind it though. It just came to my mind but whenever I think of child labour, I can vision a bird in a cage.”

It is a film which narrates the story of a child arranging bricks at a construction site. The story board is simple. As the film progresses, the question becomes more apparent: Why can’t a child working with bricks meant for construction, be granted the opportunity to enjoy the childhood and build his or her own future.

Soham says, “I remember in our childhood, we used to play with square blocks with alphabets written on it. I wanted to use the symmetry of bricks and the square blocks with the alphabets on it.”

Soham’s statement in the film was quite loud: ‘children should not build buildings but knowledge’. Interestingly, the filmmaker used the sound of a concrete mixture machine as the background music of the film.

Soham says it took him a month to prepare though the minute-length film was shot in an hour. As he remembers the day, he says, “No one will believe that literally picked up the kid for my film from the road. And the kid was a wonderful artist as he perfectly emoted what I wanted to show.”

The 19-year-old student is originally from Kolkata and came to Bhubaneswar for pursuing his course in Filmmaking. He grew up watching films of Satyajit Roy and Ritwik Ghatak. Soham’s mother Satarupa Dutta, who is an anthropologist, initially backed his son when he wanted to study film instead of Engineering. Soham’s father Soumen also supported him in every way.

His teachers at KIIT campus are quite proud of him. Bidhu Roul, one of the professors of his department, says, “He is very talented, creative and quite independent at this age. I always encourage the students as I see full of scope in them.” At the same time, his teachers are conscious so that the achievements do not block his way of journey with huge expectation.

Film has always been his first love. Pulp fiction by Quentin Tarantino and Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho are among his favourites. He has made a film on animal rights titled ‘Would you care more if I were a Panda?’, which has been shown in an IIT fest, and several short films on other subjects.

Presently, he is working on another film for a short film contest. But being a student, it is sometimes hard to make films especially arranging the financial parts. Soham is quite firm that he would bear his expenses for pursuing his passion on his own. For this, he has already started working part-time.

Soham, who aims at getting admission in Pune film institute, says, “Good films, that is what I all want to make.”