An Interview with Nitin Chandra

Nitin Chandra was born in a middle class Bihari family. He completed his schooling from Don Bosco Patna and later completed his Intermediate from Bihar College of Engineering in 1998. He was selected for Bachelor of Information Technology in Delhi and he was in Delhi for 4 years and later pursued Masters in Communication Studies with Specialisation in Video Production from University of Pune in the year 2003 – 2005. During his higher studies at University of Pune, he made his first short film called “The Outsider” which was adjudged among top three films of the University and was send for Chennai Film festival. After passing out from University, he shifted to Mumbai for a career in Hindi Film Industry. He started working as an Asst. Director with Directors like Tanuja Chandra,Dibakar Banerjee, and many others. He had a short stint at Dubai also as a Film Director with Line of Action Films, Studio City.

DB: Your second film ‘Mithila Makhaan’ is the first film in Maithili from Bihar and Jharkhand to win a national award. What was the driving force behind making this movie?

    NC: It was the year 2008 and Bihar was reeling under huge deluge after there was breach in Indo Nepal embankment which was made on Kosi river. Kosi is one of the most largest river basin areas. I was working with an NGO and saw lacs of people from Nepal to Bihar living in tents or in the open sky. I have extensively travelled Bihar and have seen the condition of my people. Once thing which struck me is we need livelihood in the state. Hence, entrepreneurship, this  was the first time when the germ of the idea of National Award Winning “Mithila Makhaan” erupted in my mind. The driving force for me is the tragedy called “Bihar”. What were and what have we become. The tragedy drives me to do for my state.

DB: What are the main problems you think that the Bihari Film Industry as a whole is facing today?

NC: You must have seen a 15 year old boy gets grey hair. What is the solution ? Color his hair ? No. The problem with Bihar Film Industry is total absence of contemporary literature in the languages of Bihar. Over the years, Biharis have been subjugated by Hindi politics and hindi is so much pushed down their throat that niether a general bihari on the street of Patna, Darbhanga, Ara, etc can neither speak correct hindi nor any kind of sensitivity for their own language is left in their heart. So unless the language gets attention from the government and from bigger film makers, there is no way we can improve on our Cinema. Now there are no audience for Bhojpuri Cinema, they are only victims.

DB: What is the reason behind the Bihari movies not being considered serious or not taken seriously in the country? What were the problems you faced because of this?

NC: Cinema, just like the identity “Bihari” is not taken seriously for simple reason that Biharis never took their own things seriously. You must have heard Litti Chokhaa being the state food of Bihar and Biharis going bonkers over it but do you know that fact that no decent family restaurant in Bihar sells Litti chokhaa or sattu parathaa. So when you lose respecting the self, then why do you expect others to respect us ? Ask your friends in college what language their parent speak with them apart from Hindi ? While hindi not a language of Biharis but totally accepted in the funny form like Amir Khan in PK. So I keep facing problem when I tell people of Bihar what do we need. But there are hardly a few people who are ready to listen. Getting money for making films in the language of Bihar is the biggest problem.  

DB: How is it directing a short film, as your latest film ‘Suspect’ is a short film?

NC: It was a great experience and it was a serious film. Getting such subject in our language makes me feel blessed.

DB: Any message for the aspiring directors from Bihar?

NC: Make films in languages of Bihar and NOT Hindi, if you want to make Bihar proud and “Bihari” a respectful identity.

DB: Last but not the least, who is your inspiration when it comes to direction?

NC: Majid Majidi.



About the Writer

Diptoroop Banerjee is a first year BA Humanities Student at Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities. He has immense love for Cinema and Literature.