It was a laid back Thursday afternoon when I sat down with filmmaker Mukul Haloi at his alma mater for a chat. Mukul has recently graduated from prestigious Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).
The sun was shining and we had steaming cups of tea and no fixed set of questions. The conversation was as free flowing as it could ever be.
Just a couple of days before Haloi’s diploma film, ‘Ghormua’ was screened at National Film Archive of India to a packed auditorium and roaring applause from the audience.
“Till January this year I was a student here at FTII. Now I’m writing a film based on Assam and its current rhythm. It won’t be completely incorrect to call me an independent filmmaker,” says Mukul with a smile.
Mukul hails from Nalbari and is currently based at Guwahati where he lives with his brothers, who too are based in the city.
He loves to travel to gather ideas and substance for his scripts. “For my film Loralir Sadhukotha, I travelled across Assam. I’m doing the same for my current script I’m working on,” Mukul shares.
He also spoke about the emergence of film festivals and the probable platforms for independent filmmakers cross the nation. “We do have a lot of festivals that cater to the needs of independent filmmakers but the financial aspect isn’t that strong. Filmmakers may get a chance to showcase their work but only a few get backed up by producers and distributors who take their film ahead to the masses,” he says.
When asked about the years he spent at the prestigious FTII, Haloi smiles and tags them as the ‘most constructive years of his life’.
“I was studying in Delhi University and had already enrolled for my master’s when I got my entrance results and moved here. Until that point I had barely watched 10 movies. I started from scratch, my race began from zero. Whatever knowledge I have about films and filmmaking is because of this institution and the time I spent here,” says Mukul. He says artist-filmmaker Rajula Shah is one of his biggest inspirations in this field and as someone who has had a massive influence in his life.
Mukul emphasizes on the importance of perfecting the craft of filmmaking ahead of all other aspects. “Young, aspiring filmmakers should firstly figure out what they want to do and what they want to is tell the world. Why exactly should others watch their films? Practice is the key and only that helps in perfecting the craft. Perfect your craft and all other things including money will follow,” he mentions.