Anirban Sengupta: Pleasure of ideation through sound in cinema

Posted by Kaahon Desk On August 3, 2017

Anirban Sengupta aka Potla started out as a musician along with fellow musician Dipankar Chaki aka Jojo in Kolkata and shifted to Bombay where they also worked on music production from 2000 to 2005. Both of them came back to Kolkata and in 2006 established their own studio called Dream Digital. The studio was also primarily devoted to music until the duo landed their first film project, Anjan Dutta’s Chalo Let’s Go in 2008. The same year they also produced a 5.1 mix that was the first tie in the city. However, the challenge, excitement, and possibilities of a new medium resulted in more film projects and the duo soon turned into the most sought-after sound designers in mainstream Bengali Film Industry. They received the National Award for Best Sound Design for Kaushik Ganguly’s Shabdo in 2012. Over the years Anirban Sengupta has worked on nearly 200 films and had also started working individually for the last year or so. He was part of the team who did the sound for the Bollywood film Kahaani 2 directed by Sujoy Ghosh.

Talking about his early days and the shift from music to cinema, Anirban Sengupta points his fingers to a dearth of exciting and inspiring music in Kolkata during that time. It was more out of a curiosity to do something different that he, along with Jojo, had taken up Anjan Dutta’s Chalo Let’s Go. But the sheer scale of work and the detailed nature of it, turned into a major incentive for them to continue working in films. He believes that his background in music proved to be a big help because it gave him a sense of balance and he uses every sound element as individual musical pieces in an overall composition. However, he is in two minds when it comes to the idea of using sync sound in films. If done properly, the end result can be great but the entire process is highly expensive and based on clinical precision. He believes that the entire craze started because of the unavailability of dates of the major Bollywood stars for dubbing. This brings the discussion to the use of dialogue and Anirban Sengupta feels that people have lost the respect for cinema and have no patience for the silent moments. As a result, the directors resort to over use of dialogue to communicate the content.

As the discussion shifts towards technology and giant leaps taking place almost every day in the area of sound engineering, Anirban Sengupta voices his enthusiasm. Completely writing off the arguments against the technological developments, he strongly believes that it creates wider and exciting avenues in terms of creativity and can deliver a sound experience previously unheard of. But then most of the theatres here lack the infrastructural support for such detailed sound projection which results to fact that the directors not opting for latest technology for their films. He also declares that finally everything is the director’s call and if he wants he can go for any mixing be it mono, stereo, 5.1 or something higher. But at the same time, he doesn’t like the idea of director or anyone for that matter to be sitting beside him while he works. He prefers getting a brief and then work in solitude and get opinions based on the final output. He concludes on a regretful note as he feels that people in the same profession should interact more and exchange ideas, something completely absent in Kolkata.

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