Uncovering The “Kafan” In Maithili By Achal Mishra!

Achal Mishra has his origins in Darbhanga, Bihar and is currently pursuing his higher studies from
London. In an interview with Team PatnaBeats, he gives us insights into his life, background,
upbringing and most importantly about his beautiful short film, Kafan , which is an adaptation of
Premchand’s short story in Maithili.

 Tell us about your early life, family and academic background, and your connection with Bihar.

I was born in Darbhanga, Bihar and studied there until class 4, after which I moved to a boarding
school. My parents are doctors, and have been more than supportive of whatever I wished to do.
After school, I decided to study Film and enrolled myself at King’s College in London.

Why film making? Did you have an inclination towards film-making right since
childhood?

I don’t think so. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago, when I was in class 11, that I decided
filmmaking is what I want to do. As a kid I used to draw and paint all the time. Then I started writing
– stories and poems. My first ambition was to be a writer. I started photography when I was twelve
or thirteen and then there was a brief stint at design too. In filmmaking, all these things came
together to create a single piece of art! I realized I had more capacity of telling a story through
filmmaking than any other art form. And then of course there’s the joy of seeing your
imagination come to life on the screen!

 Please throw some light on your short film, ‘Kafan’.

I really wanted to adapt a Premchand story. I was looking for something which could be shot in
under a week and required minimal production, and that’s when I came across Kafan. The story
struck me at once: a poignant tale about the plight of two poor villagers, whose hardships have
turned them cynical and selfish. Premchand wrote the story 80 years ago, but sadly it still seems to
resonate today.

You can Watch the film here :

 Considering your academic background, what made you to opt Maithili as the language for this film?

 

Maithili is my native language. My parents, grandparents, everyone around me at home speaks
Maithili. I wanted to see if I am comfortable working with it in a film. Also, I want to keep a very
realistic approach in my films, so Hindi would have seemed a little out of place spoken by the
characters, because nobody really speaks Hindi in villages, they speak their local language.

 

Is this your first such venture? If no, please elaborate on your earlier works?

This is my first short film in Maithili. I have made two other short films, both set in Bihar. One is
‘Bipin Chaudhary’s Lapse of Memory’ based on a short story by Satyajit Ray, and the other is a short
thriller, ‘Pratiroop’. All these projects were very impromptu. I’d come across a short-story that I like,
and I’d go out and shoot the film over a week, managing everything from camera to production
myself.

 Are there any other projects in the pipeline?

Yes! I have been trying to get a team together, and we will hopefully work on something this
summer.

 What are your other areas of interest?

Photography! Contrary to filmmaking, photography is a lone meditation, you don’t need anyone or
anything but your camera. Almost every evening when I’m home, I pick up my camera and go out for a shoot.

Who is/are your source/sources of inspiration?

A lot of things, a lot of people – filmmakers mostly, but the foremost of them would be Satyajit Ray.

How has the going been so far?

Well, it’s just the beginning, and it’s been great so far!

Do you have any plans of making a feature film in any of Bihari languages?

Yes, definitely! Something in Maithili, of course. There’s a saying which goes: “The films we watch
are like places we travel to; we get to see something new. The films we make are where we are
from.

 

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