Subimal Misra: Shot @ Underground was planned as a film focused on the maverick anti-establishment author and his works. It was the first audio-visual project we took up, me, Snigdhendu and Sriparna, even before the formation of Little Fish Eat Big Fish. Arupratan Ghosh was talked into playing a character which was later portrayed by Abhishek Bhattacharya (Codename: Mahesh Chowdhury). Another character was played by Sumit Dey. Souva Chattopadhyay contributed to the film financially. It was a 25 minutes' short film. The incomplete version that is available now misses two major sequences that were included in the original script. We planned a Subimal on Subimal sequence that needed chroma keying. But the author was never ready to get out of his house and if you've ever been there you know of course it is impossible to set even a baby light inside his room! So, we had to reject that idea. Not only that, we had to drop the whole film due to lack of cooperation from the authors' end.
It went on like this, at first, when we approached Mr. Misra for the film he was overwhelmed and said "Although I have total faith in you people and your works or enthusiasm for activism I'd like to be a part of it. Please consider to share your ideas with me from time to time." It was just after the publication of Byas Khasra Sankhya. He was totally mesmerized with the cut-up Subimal Misra Jumpcut aka Asole Eti Subimal Misrer Golpo Hoe Uthte Parto. Then as the time passed by we realized that he expects nothing more than a biographical documentary from us and we were never ready produce a crap like that. We had our ideas more developed with the time and then his supervision started. You see, everytime we had to send a copy of the rush and a copy of the thing we had edited out of that. He used to say "I must know whether I have or haven't said something that doesn't quite goes with my image on the camera." We didn't object. We wanted the film to materialize but it was frustrating. He started behaving like a producer, shouting on the phone "How the hell can you edit the raw footage without my permission". It was not all his fault. There were some guys from Bangladesh, South India and Gujrat who kept on poking him on these issues. Subimal spoke of them several times without mentioning their names. Then Mr. Dhiman Dasgupta entered the scene. All we wanted was a voiceover from him but he kept on insisting that we should show him first on the screen, establish his identity and then we can use the voiceover through out the film till the end. And at the end we must show him again during the last part of his piece. We told him that we are not planning a documentary. He replied "You are only a child. You don't have enough knowledge about films. That's how films are made, you can't go beyond that!" The author himself by this time wanted a 'total view' of the 'thing we are going to make'! I sent him a letter via post. It consisted the whole screenplay and my take on the same. After a week Subimal replied to Snigdhendu on the phone
I couldn't make a sense out of that!
There were no cards left for us to play! We sent the whole thing and he, in turn, refused to cooperate! We don't like to work under conditions, we had to stall the project right there. We were busy with other productions too. LFEBF, the forum, was more than a year older and it was the time for the first release Five No Budget Films (2010). After that, we tried to convince the author once or twice over the phone but showed no ultra-enthusiasm. Subimal was rigid at his point. He wanted us to put even his mother in the film!
He never understood, or understood but was never ready to grant that he was not important at all for the film. It was his works, statements that we wanted to play with.
Where he lived in childhood or what school he attended was not of our interest.
In the month of September, 2010 Mr. Nilotpal Roy called Snigdhendu and suggested that we should stop the campaign and announce if we are not going to complete the film. In response I made a post on the blog.
And that was the end.
This January, I came to know via Youtube feed that someone called Basab Mukherjee has made a three and a half hour long 'Biographical Documentary' on Subimal Misra. Moreover, Dhiman Dasgupta and Nilotpal Roy are also featured in it with considerably good screen time! We congratulate them and express our sincere thankfulness to the spirit of the good work. We never wanted to make an ad film for the anti-establishment author, that was 'our fault'. In fact, if we could complete the film we'd have considered this title too -- Asole Eti Subimal Misrer Bigyapon Hoe Uthte Parto. Not only Mr. Dasgupta and Mr. Roy, we'd like to thank Harper Collins Publishers India Ltd too for publishing Subimal's works. Now, we have no reasons left to repent or regret. Yes, Mr. Misra is the maverick anti-establishment author from Bengal and according to his theory Ananda Bazar Publication is an institution but Harper Collins Publishers India Ltd is diffrent and not the same!
So, friends we've learnt a lot from the author. He was not, but his works were important to us.
Long live the anti-establishment!
Long live Subimal Misra!
Harper Collins Zindabaad!
- Anamitra Roy