Champaran Matan director Ranjan Kumar’s appeal, Bihar government should work on film literacy, expresses struggle

The short film Champaran Mutton has been in the news for quite some time now. The film has reached the semi-finals of the Student Oscar. The writer and director of this film is Ranjan Kumar from Bihar. This is his diploma film. Urmila Kori talks about her film and her journey so far.

How special is the performance of Champaran mutton to Oscar students?

are very special. I am from Bihar. I am a student of Pune Film Institute, I have completed my diploma this year. We have a project. People from all sections come together in this. work together. This project is Champaran Mutton. I have written and directed the film, but Champaran Matan is not my film alone. This is a film of four more people. who is studying with me at the Film Institute. Shubham Ghatge has taken the responsibility of the film’s sound, and the film has been shot in his village Baramati. Produced by Meenakshi Srivastava of Muzaffarpur. Tamil Nadu’s Aditya has done the cinematography and Vaishnavi Krishnan has edited the film. This is a film of all these people with me.

How did you get into FTII?

I studied in MIT Muzaffarpur. After completing my education from there, I joined ISM Dhanbad, but I was wondering what to do after I became a professor. Meanwhile, my grandmother’s health was very bad, so she quit her studies and came to Patna. While living in Patna, a friend pointed out that there was an advertisement for FTII. Asked to pay. I didn’t even know then that this is FTII, where film is studied. This was found out later. I filled the form but could not take admission due to lack of money. By the way, money was not the only reason, I felt very humiliated there when I went there to take the exam. Everyone is speaking in English. Everyone had thick English books. Here in Bihar, English starts from 6th standard, so English was very difficult. I had a look of fear on my face, they thought it wouldn’t last and I wasn’t selected. This hit me hard. I decided to do it. After four years I again filled the form and took the exam. In between, I worked at SBI Card for a while. Worked in skill development scheme. Taught in IIT. All of them collected money. Apart from money, he also prepared himself. I started meeting poet-writers for how to write. Once Usha met Kiran Khan, he told her to write less, read more and started studying from there. A book library has been built. I read Phanishwarnath Renu, Vinod Kumar Shukla, Harshankar Parsai. Had fallen in love with him. Also read Nirmal Verma. A realization arose while reading it. Also read Vijay Tendulkar, Tolstoy, Chekov. A technical book of writing has also been invented. My house was a library. Due to this, he got selected in FTII in 2017. After studying for five years, I made this diploma film.

In 2017, I didn’t underestimate myself, how did I stop underestimating myself?

I also prepared for that in four years. I went in 2013 and got rejected when I was selected. Communicated with him. I was friends with him, once I would call him, then I would call him. I used to go and talk to him, so a comfort level was created. At the same time, he became friends with a boy named Ashutosh. He helped me financially at the time of admission in 2017.

What has been the struggle so far on the journey?

Talking about the struggle, the financial situation of the house was not good. Women’s problem society used to run in Bihar. Mother used to work as CRP in it. Worked as a supervisor. Papa had a shoes and slippers shop, but it closed down. Then the mid-day meal began, in which both father and mother worked together. Both lost their jobs in 2013. I have made it this far by borrowing from friends, relatives and doing odd jobs. I have spent 1.25 lakh rupees to make this film. You won’t believe that I even borrowed from the professors there. On one hand taking shots and on the other arranging money from a friend to make a film. Along with studying in FTI also sold aloe vera. It wasn’t just us. The house also had needs, so some money had to be sent there too. At FTII, everyone was given aloe vera. If anyone had any problem, I used to give a demo of drinking aloe vera juice of this company. Not only FTII but also used to come to Bihar, then sell aloe vera juice. To sell even in the world. Once grandfather was sick, he was cured with aloe vera juice, after which the order of the whole family came to me.

Actor Chandan Roy of the film says that you have shown the fight section in the film very meticulously.

I myself come from that section and witnessed their struggle more closely during Covid. I had a friend who used to impress shopkeepers with a kilo of rice. Once reached Danapur at a close friend’s house. There were ten people in that family. When he arrived, he found that the mutton was being prepared. Glad we got to eat mutton. Two more people came. He also ate. The face of that family was worth seeing. He himself was going to eat mutton after many months, but he could not do that either. Even in my childhood, I saw that when my parents asked me to bring mutton, they would say that they had gas in their stomach. There will be more time. Actually they had no money for mutton. The story of Champaran Mutton was born out of this thought that Mutton is a luxury of the poor.

How have things changed since the film entered the Oscar race?

Nothing has changed. People are congratulating. to praise Looks great but things will change when the manufacturer comes forward. If you believe in me, you will think that things will change. What about films, they reach the audience after they are made. My second short film is Sarai. She didn’t go to the Student Oscars, but six to seven lakh people have watched the film on YouTube. I have many stories that I want to tell, but they need money, which the producer can keep. Many have debt. FTII itself has imposed a penalty of 14 thousand for late payment of fees. Which has to be paid.

Which movie do you believe in?

I realize this now, but I feel that movies are not just a medium of entertainment. What could be better than something that touches his heart.

What would you like to say to the youth of Bihar who want to pursue a career in cinema?

The simple thing is, those who think that they will do it by fighting directly when they reach Mumbai, are thinking wrong. Learning is important. Watching movies and reading should be added. Films in villages and towns. must be shown. Work on film literacy. Recently went to Kerala for screening of Champaran mutton. There was a government cinema hall. Private single screens are over here. Bihar government has to take initiative. There should also be a college to study film. Ten people from all over India have been selected in FTII, so efforts should be made to study elsewhere. I would tell the youth to forget everything and work hard. Read and learn. Keep a good temper too. People just pull their hands. Speaking from my experience.


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