Director with artistic skills
Indrajit Nattoji who previously directed Aagey Se Right, is now the director and screenwriter of Zee 5's upcoming film Aafat-e-Ishq, an official remake of the multi awarded Hungarian film Liza, The Fox-Fairy spills beans about the film and his working experience. It stars Neha Sharma, Amit Sial, Namit Das, Deepak Dobriyal and Ila Arun
Artist and filmmaker Indrajit Nattoji is all set to direct Aafat-e-Ishq an original film for ZEE5. Nattoji tells us that this film is an official remake of the multiple-award-winning Hungarian film, Liza, The Fox-Fairy. Starring Neha Sharma, Amit Sial, Namit Das, Deepak Dobriyal and Ila Arun, the film is a dark dramedy set in a small town in the Indian heartland.
On talking about his journey he shares, "Aagey Se Right was my debut film made with a lot of heart. I learnt a lot from the experience and am lucky to have a theatrical release in my career! But it also made me want to hone my film-making skills further. So I went back to making advertising films with my production house Blink Pictures and to writing stories and scripts. I guess everything has a time and I am glad I waited it out. I have so many stories to tell. The beauty of direction in film-making is that I can tell my stories with an amalgamation of all the art forms- from writing to drawing to music and photography."
He is also an artist and on talking about his journey as an artist he said that 'The Rangi Saari' music video was conceived and created by him for a beautiful music track by Kavita Seth and Kanishk Seth. He adds, "It is an electronica version of a traditional Thumri. What is unique is that the video has been created using an animation technique- 'artistic rotoscope".
Previously shot footage of dancers was edited together and hand painted frame by frame. The video is a moving painted portrait of first love and all its playfulness.I love my art and I love life. Cinema connects the two. So I guess I will always want to be a 'film artist '."
He has been drawing and painting from the time he recalls his earliest childhood memories. It was a natural instinct, as basic as eating and breathing. He wanted to be an artist and painter until the time he got into the National Institute of Design.
Alongside his film scripts and ad-films, he continues his practice as an artist. His art has been exhibited at the galleries of All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society, New Delhi, and more recently at the Prince of Wales of Wales Museum, Mumbai.
As a solo artist, I have presented a unique collection of paintings at the ICCR, Kolkata. Titled "Tagore in Shorthand", the exhibition was an artist's tribute to the literary works of Rabindranath Tagore.
I have also conceived and produced large scale film installations for Indian Music Experience, India's first permanent experiential museum of Indian music in Bangalore. More recently I have created a hand painted music video for Kavita Seth's Rangi Saari." On talking about remake of Aafat-e-Ishq, he says,"The Zee Studio Originals team had acquired the rights for the award-winning Hungarian film 'Liza the Fox-Fairy'. During one of my script-pitch meetings with them, they, in turn, pitched an Indian remake of the same to me. I loved the film and its quirky black humour and it connected with some of my favourite story-telling genres that I have always been a fan of- fantasy, film noir and black comedies."
On sharing his working experience, he said, "The creative team at Zee5 has been very supportive in my vision for Aafat-e-Ishq every step of the way. We shot in extremely challenging times, at the height of the pandemic. However, the shoot was all possible because of the incredible Zee Studios production team and a stellar cast, who believed in the film and was completely dedicated. Neha Sharma is a dedicated and intelligent actor and completely transformed herself into the character of my protagonist- Lallo. Deepak Dobriyal, Amit Sial, and Namit Das are veteran actors who were my first and only choice for the characters of Vikram, Prem Gunjan, and Atmaram respectively. When all of them came together, the set was one big happy family with constant laughter, fulfilling conversations, and incredible performances.Ila Arunji, at her age, brought into the set a certain fearless and inspiring energy."
Since it's a remake of Hungarian film he shares about his challenges on making a remake.
"The film 'Liza- the Fox Fairy' is set in 1970s Hungary, at the onset of a capitalistic consumerist society. To tell our version of Liza, we decided to set the film in a diametrically opposite universe- the quintessential Indian heart-land. The challenge was to reinterpret a story with an East-European sensibility, to that of the small-town Hindi heartland. To minimise Liza's influence on our script, I only saw the film twice. Once as an audience and the second time as a film-maker."
Sharing about his future aspects, he said that an ambitious web series in development and two ready film scripts for which he is in talks with producers. "I am visualising and creating VFX for a film which will be released soon on a leading OTT platform. Meanwhile I am working on my next art collection- a series of portraits of the pandemic," ends the artist cum director.