How a taxman used his wedding photographers to find beauty in trash

January 02, 2019 10:40 pm | Updated 10:40 pm IST - Guwahati

Satyakam Dutta

Satyakam Dutta

Indian Revenue Service officer Satyakam Dutta found ‘beauty’ in trash to make a mockumentary – a satirical documentary – that struck gold at an international short film festival almost a month ago.

What gave his 7 minutes 19 seconds film the edge were a couple of photographers who wanted some “adventure” beyond wedding assignments and a nameless narrator located via the web for a few dollars. The film, Finding Beauty in Garbage , was released on YouTube on Tuesday.

Filmmaking was far from Mr Dutta’s mind when he was transferred three years ago from Nagpur as the Deputy Director of Income Tax (Investigation) in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh, about two hours drive from his home in Dhemaji via the Bogibeel Bridge across river Brahmaputra.

But random garbage dumps across the town, the administrative and commercial hub during British rule and a major World War II military base, made him wonder whether people found littered streets beautiful.

The idea turned into a script 18 months ago. He found in Partha Bhuyan and Chandan Kakoty two volunteers for executing the idea on film.

“They were assigned to photograph my wedding in October 2016. They offered to work without any fee because they wanted a break from the monotony and hoped to earn some name,” Mr Dutta, 35, told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Mr Dutta and the photographer duo took time off their routine work to document the ever-expanding dumping sites with the waste strewn by stray animals. They shot with SLRs and mobile phones.

“After shooting physically and with drones, the search for a good narrator took me to a freelancing website to which I paid $26.25 for the voiceover by a man who identified himself as jovialduality,” Mr Dutta said.

The audio file delivered by the website was mixed during the editing of the video.

The final product turned out to be much better than Mr Dutta had imagined. “I decided to send it for short film festivals around the world, and won the gold medal in the very first – South East Asia Short Film Festival in Cambodia – I participated in,” he said.

The IRS officer is undecided about making another film. “I hope it would be a documentary, not a mockumentary, on finding the charm of a Dibrugarh without the garbage around,” he said. EOM

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