Sankhajit Biswas is one of the most prolific and most sought after editor in nonfiction filmmaking in India. His works have been screened in IDFA (competition), DokLeipzig, Toronto International Film Festival, Yamagata Documentary Film Festival, Ismailia Documentary Film Festival, Film South Asia and have won prestigious awards including FIPRESCI Certificate of Merit, Special Mention in ‘One World’ Human Rights Film Festival, Prague, Best Documentary in Kara Film Festival, Jury Award in Ismailia Documentary Festival and International Jury Award in Mumbai International Documentary & Short Film Festival. He has also taught editing in prestigious institutes such as Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute and Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University. He turned director with Dui Dhuranir Golpo aka In-between Days in 2012.
Talking about his own take on the craft as well as the philosophy of editing, Sankhajit Biswas comes across quite organized, methodical and of pacific temperament. He follows a certain discipline while going through the entire rush and also having a detailed interaction with the director. This helps him to form a comprehensive idea about the subject before starting with the actual process. And as for the process itself, Biswas believes that those are a set of fundamentals, which should be internalized, like muscle memory or instinct. What should come into play instead, are one’s experience, orientation, political understandings, and philosophy of life and so on.
He also counters a popular myth that editor and director are always at loggerheads and there is something called the ‘greater interest of the film’, which a technician should serve. For Sankhajit Biswas, the director gets to have the final word regarding aesthetic and creative decisions in the film. And that is not because of his hierarchical position but simply because of his extensive engagement with the subject. Of course an editor should have an opinion and there can be a healthy debate or discussion but unlike the popular idea, it shouldn’t go further than that. But what he simply cannot stand is the crop of so-called directors who are there just to enjoy the designation and glamor with even an iota of involvement and sincerity.