From working as a production assistant to Anurag Kashyap to directing short films featuring Chetana Das and Barasha Rani Bishaya, budding Assamese director Bandita Bora has come a long way.
And her latest directorial venture, a patriotic video song- Vande Mataram sung by Nakash Aziz of Jabra Fan fame, has already garnered over five lakh views (and still counting) on YouTube.
The song has been written by Manoj Kabir Yadav and Ritesh Bhoyar has composed the music. The video narrating varied emotions of a soldier has already captured the audience's attention. It has been released to commemorate India's 75th year of Independence
Filmmaking has been in Bandita's genes since birth. An alumnus of Saint Anthony's, Shillong, where she studied Media Technologies, Bandita has always been passionate about the direction.
"After my graduation, I went to Delhi and joined YMCA PR and Marketing. After spending a few years in Delhi, I went to Bengaluru. I assisted in a few South Indian short and feature films there. Then in 2015, I got an opportunity to pitch a Mysore Sandal soap advertisement, which was a big release for me. But the only issue I faced was the language barrier; I came to Mumbai to ease it. For over six years now, I have been passionately following my dreams," Bora said while speaking about her love for direction.
Speaking about Vande Mataram, Bandita said, " When the proposal to shoot the video for this song came to me, I was introduced to the fact that I was getting a very low budget. With Nakash Aziz singing the song, I knew I had to do it at any cost."
"After listening to the song, I visualised a situation where an army man visits a city and sees people living freely without any fear and ponders upon his contribution as an army man towards society. On seeing the happy faces around him, feelings of alienation creep in, and he realises that he belongs at the border and not in the city. Through the video, I have tried to convey these exact feelings of the soldier," she further adds.
"The entire team has tried to remain rooted and honest with the concept and given their best to bring out the best. If the budget were a little higher, perhaps the result would have been a touch better," Bandita was quick to add.
This is not the first time Bandita has worked on a Hindi project. In fact, she has worked in several industries in the past, including Assamese, Punjabi, Kanada, Tamil, and Bollywood, apart from directing some Haryanvi songs.
Sharing the experience she gained by working in different industries, Bandita says, "It is very different. Different cultures and societies behave differently to a common thing or common humour. As a child, I was fortunate to have been introduced to several cultures through television series. So, it wasn't difficult for me to connect to the various industries and cultures. But yes, it is different everywhere."
During the first phase of COVID-19-induced lockdown, Bandita worked under Anurag Kashyap as his production assistant during the shooting of Lords Of Lockdown.
Lords of Lockdown is based on the tragic realities faced by the daily wage workers during the pandemic. The film is produced by Navin Shetty, and Anurag Kashyap and directed by Mihir Fadnavis. It first premiered at the New York Indian Film Festival in April 2022. The film was also screened at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne, 2022.
During the second wave of COVID-19, Bandita was in Guwahati and worked as an associate director in a short film, Wrong Number featuring Barsha Rani Bishaya.
She also acted in the web series Ultimate Date, apart from directing an advertisement for the Guwahati Municipal Corporation.
"I have also directed a short film featuring noted actor Chetana Das. She will be seen in a different and fresh avatar in this short film," she informed.
Besides music videos and albums, Bandita has also directed several short films. On being asked, which is more challenging, she said, "I feel that music albums are not very tough compared to short films. Music albums need money. It needs beautification of shots. Today, it is more about watching a song than listening to it. In short films, you need to narrate a story. Even if you have a bad camera, an engaging narrative style can create an environment for the audience with which they can connect themselves. So yes, for me, short films will always be challenging."
A confident individual, who is clear about what she wants from life, Bandita strongly believes that one should not decide on something by following or imitating others.
"We should be free, explore, and take all the challenges that may come our way. We must remember one thing that we know ourselves better than anybody else," she concluded.