Aditya Vikram Sengupta On Directing The Acclaimed Labour Of Love

By Aditya Savnal. Posted on June 15, 2015

Aditya Vikram’s Sengupta Labour Of Love narrates the tale of a young couple trying to survive in a recession struck Kolkata. The film has been screened to immense acclaim at Venice, Rotterdam, Busan, London BFI, Marrakech and other international festivals. Besides winning 10 international awards worldwide, the film has also won National awards for Best Debut Feature Film and Best Sound Design.

Aditya who is a National Institute Of Design (NID) graduate had worked with Channel V prior to this film. Jamuura recently interviewed the director on the making of the film.

Published below are some excerpts from the interview.

On What Inspired Him To Make The Film

A short story by Italo Calvino inspired me to make this film. I wanted to write about the way in which my parents expressed their love to each other. I saw them express their love to each other through work, food and other daily activities and things. I wanted to express these things in my film. This is what fascinated and prompted me to make a film on this subject.

On The Writing Process

When I was writing the script, it happened as a combination of images and sounds. I would often write about the visuals first, then the sound and vice versa. For me visuals are equivalent to writing. I don’t have a priority about writing the script first and then the visuals. The writing came spontaneously from my experiences, memories and what I felt as a child. That became the basis of storytelling and resulted in the film that it is today.

I had a very detailed storyboard and I stuck to it throughout. A lot of changes were made and things were discovered while we were on set. We incorporated most of these things in the film.

On How They Shot The Film 

Calcutta as a city has a very strong and imposing character. The city has been exposed through sounds and a few images. That is how I wanted to render the city and show it through the protagonists’ perspective or through the context of their lives and love. The subjectivity is through their story.

The shooting happened spontaneously. People can tell stories in different ways. I was comfortable shooting this way. We shot the film with a crew of 6 people.

On The Things He Learnt During The Making Of The Film

Shooting the film was an experiential process. There was a whole new vision which we started seeing while shooting.  There were also a lot of new things we learnt while shooting the film.

You need to know what you want and you should know how to get it with the resources you have. Having a lot of equipment makes it easier but if you know what you want, the lesser resources don’t make much of a difference.

On How He Edited The Film

It took me around a year to edit. I had an edit pattern in mind but it didn’t give me the rhythm I was looking for. So it took me a year to get that rhythm and it came to me as I finished the film.

On The Theatrical And Online Strategy Release Planned For The Film

We are distributing the film ourselves. We will release the film online, once we are done with theatrical release.

The release is being done mainly to facilitate the exhibition of the film and not with intent to make money. A lot of people are curious about the film and want to watch it. This is why we are doing a selective release. It would be great if more people watch the film and we can make some money.

On The Reactions Received By The Film

Everyone loved the film but for varied and different reasons.  Americans thought why the woman is sleeping with the jewellery and the bangles on? But as per Bengali culture, the women are supposed to wear the red and white bangles till the time their husband is alive. There were a lot of similarities and contextual changes which elicited different reactions from different corners of the world.


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