'Obhyesh' means habit in Bengali. From birth to death we form many of them. Some are good, some are not so, but we become habituated with all of them. Similarly, the boy of the story goes through various problems to get asleep throughout the night and eventually he falls asleep where the sounds, light, and thoughts are far louder. He stops complaining and starts being with them.
Why did you make 'Obhyesh'? What is the inspiration behind making it?
I come from a middle-class family in Kolkata. Being the only child of my parents, I have always confronted the question of getting a secured job and all my friends do go through the same. But on every alternative day, you hear about the upgoing corruption in recruitment. The absurd price hike of daily use commodities is a massive headache for the common people. The unemployment rate is going high every day and youths are having a severe problem finding a job. 'Obhyesh' initially came up with such experiences I have gone through and the effect it leaves on the equations of my friends and family. All these come as riddles in the film and the psychological effect of the thoughts doesn't allow the boy to get asleep.
How did you find 'the boy'?
I never met Soumendra before 'Obhyesh'. Someone from my team came up and shown me one of his photos from his phone and then I decided to meet Soumendra. I was always searching for a slim guy, who also comes from a simple middle-class background and understands the silent echoes of the story. On the first meet, Soumendra shared some similar experiences he had at some point in his time. After spending some time with him and after making the film I must say, It had to be only and only 'Soumendra'.
What is your experience working with Soumendra and how did you prepare with him?
Soumendra is a great human being to work with. I just gave him a very short message, i.e. not to act in front of the camera. Actors sometimes overdo things just to make viewers understand his feelings and emotions of a particular moment. I just told him to behave and to feel the moment and he was spot on. We never spoke much about the story itself. We rather used to talk about the situation and that's it. Besides, I must mention Soumendra never complains. He started making a habit to spend sleepless nights just to prepare for the film. He skipped his lunch for the sake of performing better for a scene. You tell him, he is ready to do it. I can even go to war with Soumendra by my side.
Can you explain its distinctive treatment and storytelling language?
'Obhyesh' is an amalgamation of my imagination, the society I live in and the silent echoes of my nightmares.
Nightmares are absurd and they leave behind a strong emotional impression that remains deep within your soul. I tried to apply the very same treatment while telling the story.
In a dream or nightmare, the subconscious thought process takes a path of experience combining sounds, place, a chain of occurrence and a pattern of behaviours that create a strange experience, only to evoke a very deep and honest feeling you experience, whether negative or positive, that lies under the very deepest layer of your soul.
The thoughts that come to the boy has a certain pattern containing some bitter-sweet memories with his loved ones that continuously hitting him throughout the whole night. Obhyesh is an honest attempt to recreate such absurd absurdity of human emotions through cinematic language.
Can you elaborate on the film's visual aesthetics, production design, costume and soundscape?
The production design and costume of 'Obhyesh' replicates the certain middle-class environment, lifestyle and costume of a common Bengali society of the North-Kolkata region.
Sound plays a huge role in the movie. The atmosphere is created based on sound and the sets. 'Obhyesh' doesn't have a lot of dialogues, where the ambience soundscape is designed to make the viewer feel the journey of a monotonous night and the character's travel through his lucid thoughts and reality. The visual aesthetics, soundscape and absurdity of the storytelling mix up to give the viewer a cinematic experience of what he sees and what he feels beyond that. His own imagination and thoughts give him a feeling that is his very own.