No one who deals with engineering or aspires to be an engineer in the country is possibly unaware of the opulence of IITs in our country. Ever since the engineering aspirant dreams of becoming an engineer, the first thing that comes to his/her mind is predominantly the IITs. But, whenever the thought of opting an IIT from the list of 23 IITs come to the mind of the aspirants, the top three always remain the ones from Kharagpur, Mumbai and Chennai. And this lands them into the desire of getting into the elite group of institutes among the IITs, leaving the other IITs overlooked.
Now put this scenario in real life with real people acting as institutes, having a healthy conversation in between at a party! Sounds interesting right? Well, exactly something of this sort has been conceptualised and put on screen by the talented fifth year Department of Architecture and Regional Planning student of IIT Kharagpur, Ashris Choudhury, in his two-part film ‘If IITs were People’.
Travelling almost half the country while growing up, thanks to his father’s job in Indian Navy, Choudhury has seen a lot of inter-cultural elements in his life. The diversity in the country always inspired him and that triggered the idea of creating a film depicting a get-together of IITs on the occasion of IIT Bombay’s the birthday. “The idea behind making the film was not to be sound cynical or too serious about the concerns that these institutes have about each other over the years. My approach was to break the artsy barrier that the film clubs in our institute has created in all these years by making a parody sort of a video,” said an exuberant Choudhury.
Filmmaking started as a fun experience for Choudhury, when he joined IIT Kgp in the year 2012. Although he started-off with filming parts of his institute on his mobile camera, he always loved writing. As he is reaching the end of his course at the institute, he fell in love with the medium and sees his future in it as well. “I got a job offer from one of the companies that visited in the placement rounds, but I am not willing to join. I would spend some more time in research and will certainly like to delve deep into the nuances of filmmaking as well,” said Choudhury.
Talking about the cast of the film Choudhury promptly mentioned that various students from the institute made his life easy. “Quite a few of them were from the dramatic society of our institute, who had a previous experience of acting. That made it a lot easier for me while shooting the film,” informed Choudhury. Although, the major part (IIT KGP) has been played by Choudhury himself.
Choudhury came up with the idea of the film after his interactions with students across other IITs and taking part in various Inter-IIT festivals. “I wanted to diminish the myth that goes around with these bigger IITs in the country and unearth the realities of how students suffer from every day stress due to their overburdened syllabus,” said Choudhury.
Although the film is not aesthetically very sound, it portrays the idiosyncrasies that are associated with the various IITs that will resonate with any IITian. Right from the bossy attitude of the oldest IIT in the country, to that of boasting about cultural events in a certain institute, to the high salary packages offered to their students, this film has it all. It also takes a sarcastic dig at the various cities and their culture through the characters, representing each of the IITs. “The decision to include IIT Ropar as the agent who shatters the elitist approach that these bigger IITs have was a conscious choice and I thought it would be apt to put facts coming from an IIT that was set up more recently. IIT Kgp was targeted mainly because we made the film keeping in mind the people of the institute,” said Choudhury.
Although Choudhury had not planned to expand the series earlier, he has ended up writing two more episodes. “Unfortunately I would not be able to complete the other two episodes that I have written for this series. But, as my campus itself has always taught me, I will pass on this to some of my juniors who will then carry it forward,” concluded Choudhary.