Life | Fabulous Frames

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Fabulous Frames
Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena
Published: Volume 22, Issue 1, January, 2014

Regular Verve contributor Ritam Banerjee made his debut on celluloid with Sandcastle to bag the best cinematography award at the Tenerife International Film Festival

Mumbai-based lensman Ritam Banerjee is known for his passion behind the lens that drives him to give every frame he captures his unique tweak. For more than ten years, he has worked across several categories – food, advertising, fashion, travel and more. Of particular interest are the several portraits Banerjee has shot – and the ones he has done for Verve (Nawazuddin Siddiqui, to name but one) deserve special mention.

At the Tenerife International Film Festival, London, Sandcastle, directed by independent film-maker Shomshuklla Das got Banerjee the Best Cinematography award. The frames of the movie depict each nuance of emotion and reflect Banerjee’s ongoing commitment to his work. The photographer talks about his new muse and the challenges he faced as a cinematographer.

After working across several categories in different fields, what prompted you to try your hand at cinematography?
For me, cinema is the narration of a story through a series of still images mostly with sound. So, I never felt it much different from what I had been doing for over a decade as a photographer. Doing cinematography hence, was just an extension and generic progression of my exploration of the visual media. Needless to say, I loved the medium as it opened another dynamic avenue of expression for me.

What made you choose an art house project like Sandcastle as your first project as a cinematographer?
To be honest, I didn’t choose Sandcastle. I was lucky to be chosen to be the cinematographer of Sandcastle. As a photographer, I had earlier worked with the film’s director Shomshuklla Das and technical director Abraham Cherian. Their faith in me, knowing fairly well that I had never dabbled in motion pictures, prompted me to take up the offer.

What were the challenges that you faced while shooting the film?
Challenges were mostly internal. I did experience some butterflies inside, some nervousness due to the faith reposed in me by the director but actually, when I started work the team’s confidence in me, made life easy. With every passing take, my confidence grew, and before I knew it, the film was canned.

What excites you more as a photographer – moving images or still portraits?
The freedom to express and explore through any form of visual media – be it moving or still, excites me. Limiting myself to any particular genre or kind of medium in the visual space would defeat my style of working. Isn’t it boring even to think of seeing the world in the same way, using the same medium, everyday!

What next?
I prefer to live in the moment of creating and appreciating whatever comes my way. I am sure the journey ahead will be equally fascinating.

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