An interview with Dhruva J Bordoloi on his short film Nirbhik (2024)

Dipankar Sarkar conducts an interview with Dhruva J Bordoloi about his short film Nirbhik (2024).

May 20, 2024 - 15:34
May 20, 2024 - 15:36
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An interview with Dhruva J Bordoloi on his short film Nirbhik (2024)
An interview with Dhruva J Bordoloi on his short film Nirbhik (2024)
An interview with Dhruva J Bordoloi on his short film Nirbhik (2024)
An interview with Dhruva J Bordoloi on his short film Nirbhik (2024)
An interview with Dhruva J Bordoloi on his short film Nirbhik (2024)

In the year 2017, Dhruva J Bordoloi entered into the world of Assamese cinema with Dooronir Nirola Poja. The debut venture went on to win two awards for Bordoloi: Best Debutant and Best Director. Two years later his sophomore film Kokaideu Bindaas (2019) starring Monuj Borkotoky was released in theatres across Assam. In 2021 he co-directed the web series Trojan (2022) with another acclaimed director Himjyoti Talukdar for the OTT platform Reeldrama.

In this interview, Bordoloi speaks about the process of shooting his high-adrenaline short film Nirbhik (2017)

After making two feature films and one web series, why did you make a short film and release it on YouTube?

After completing my Mass Communication degree and a Diploma in Animation and VFX in Kolkata, I moved to Mumbai to become a filmmaker. Worked as an editor for various studios apart from freelance work. A few years later, I started my production house Pixelray Films and mostly did corporate films for reputed brands. My filmmaking journey started with my first feature Dooronir Nirola Poja in 2014. A slice of life film, which introduced me to the audience as a film director. After a couple of films and a crime slow-burn web series, Trojan for ReelDrama OTT, I wanted to do something out of my comfort zone.
I love action films and wanted to do one. Hence, I created a short film project titled The Silver Briefcase with Kenny, Siddharth and my team. But the action genre needs lots of resources. From Guns, props, Special FX, Pyro Technicians, Makeup to many more post-production stuff. Tried but couldn't raise the money needed for this short film. Was disappointed but didn't lose hope. Created another indie action short film project titled NIRBHIK. This was the most challenging project as I didn't have the required resources to pull off this genre.
With just a camera and a bunch of passionate young actors, I made this film to learn this genre. The idea was to make a showreel for any prospective producers wanting to make a good action feature film.
The film is now streaming on Pixelray Films YouTube channel and has been getting lots of love from the audience. 

Why the action genre?

I love action films. The adrenaline rush and the thrill it generates a compelling reasons for my interest in this genre. Also, it has a larger fan base and more number of audience. My last films and web series have been in the smaller niche. Wanted to explore the genre and learn the grammar of this type of film. So that when any feature project knocks on my door, I am prepared enough. Since I did most of the work on this film, I gained a lot of experience and insights into this genre. I am confident that I am ready for the big game. 

What were the hurdles you encountered during the making of the film?

Every project has its share of challenges. Since I knew that there were no resources to spend, I carefully wrote a script that used daylight for the scenes, which had fewer characters and fewer locations. I did manage to get a Gimbal and a Drone for the shoot, but unfortunately, the gimbal was faulty and the drone got stuck in a tree while recording the action. Also, we shot every Sunday since all of our cast and crew have full-time jobs. I did the edit and sound design too. I and Hriday, one of my actors, would visit the location and record sound and ambience on my H4N Zoom recorder. VFX and Colour Grading was tiring but fruitful. I believe when you love the work, it feels like a wonderful journey. 

Why did you choose an open ending?

A short film ideally should have an open ending or a hook so that the viewers are left with curiosity and want to know more about the characters and the story. I decided to keep it open-ended for two reasons. One to hook the audience and second to let the audience know that the crux of the story is that our protagonist fought against his fear and took a firm stand. Who wins in the fight is inconsequential. Hence, the open ending served the underlying theme and justified the title NIRBHIK which means fearless. 

How did you cast the actors?

The casting process was simple. Find actors who have worked in theatres or any other video projects. Since I stayed in Dhekiajuli, I along with my EP and Line Producer got talents who fit the bill. We did train them for the action choreography so that they were prepared for the shoot. Kaushik, our trainer worked hard on them and the actors were fully involved in the process. They did more than what was asked for and I am grateful for that.

How long did the post-production process take?

The post-production took almost two months. The first cut was ready in a week. However since the film had a good amount of VFX, those shots took some time to complete. We also had to shoot some extra VFX plates. The colour-grading took a week to do. The toughest part was the sound design. Since I have limited knowledge of this craft, it took me almost a month to do the sound design and BGM. The final mix was done by my good friend Saurav Mahanta in a studio in Guwahati.

What is your takeaway from the film?

Action films are very difficult to make. It involves so many moving parts that it's very easy to lose track. I didn't have any stunt director or the resources needed to make an action film, but this experience taught me that if you want to create something, the universe conspires to make it happen. It has made me confident and prepared. So, if any producer is interested in making an action feature film, I assure you that I will do my best to create an engaging entertaining film. Let's get in touch and roll the ball. 

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