Durba Sahay’s feature film Aavartan, received accolades at the recently concluded Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFES).
Directed by Durba, Aavartan centres around the ancient tradition of the guru shishya parampara. It follows the journey of an acclaimed dancer, who feels insecure when her student performs better than her during a duet performance.
The film features Sushma Seth, renowned Kathak dancer Padmashri Shovana Narayan with Sunit Razdan, Mrinalini and Gurjeet Singh Channi. This was also the only film from North India to be selected for screening at BIFFES. “What touched me being a part of BIFFES is the love I got from the audience, peers and the jury members. Even strangers came up to me and spoke. It was a wonderful experience.”
Durba talks about what inspired her to make the film. “There was a time when I wanted to learn Kathak. Shovana is a friend. I believe that the current generation is not aware of our rich classical dance or music or their history. I wanted to make a film that would bring forth one particular dance form and the tradition of the guru shishya parampara too. The film is made using Kathak as a backdrop. The same can be applied to any traditional performing art.”
Durba is a writer with many published works to her credit including Raftaar.
After she ventured into writing screenplays and making films, she faced the. writer’s block. “I was suddenly not sure of what I should write. Then writing took a back seat and I decided to try making a short film.” Durba says that is how Pen came to be.
Soon Durba was juggling many roles in cinema, including director, writer and producer. She produced Patang, featuring Shabana Azmi and directed by Gautam Ghosh, which won the National Award in the Best Hindi Feature Film category.
Working with people like Shabana can never pose a challenge as they are so adept at their job, says Durba. She adds that more women should come forward to direct films. “Women should not underestimate themselves. One can start learning any art form at any time in life, irrespective of age. All one needs is desire, drive and passion. Be it classical dance, reading, writing or making films, women should take to some form of creative expression. We can start small, like writing a diary, and gradually start taking larger steps and make our mark in the world”.