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Tathagata Ghosh - Filmmaker | Artist | Berlinale Talents Alumnus

Tathagata Ghosh

Tathagata Ghosh

Tathagata Ghosh

Crucial Success Skills Forged Through My Journey

I think what has really helped me over the years is creating a true collaborative space in my projects. Allowing everyone in the room to speak is pivotal. If you try to impose your opinions on your collaborators or the people you’re working with, they will not consider the project as their own. You have to allow feedback. Then only they will make your vision theirs. Because filmmaking is a collaborative artform anyway. 

Thus, I have always let my collaborators have their own spaces on a film set and beyond and that has made them take complete ownership of the project. I have sometimes felt as if the film belongs to them more than me, which should ideally be the case. I believe a true leader creates an environment where everyone feels respected and heard. It makes the end result so much better. So that is one thing which has really helped me over the years.

Crafting Creative Opportunities from Every Challenge

I think the biggest lesson that I have learnt while facing challenges is to keep my cool, not to freak out and be patient. Because energy easily gets rubbed on to another person and that can lead to a very negative work environment. Hence, keeping one's cool is very important. As a leader of the group, everyone is looking at you for answers and my job is to inspire them and not demotivate them. It has brought in wondrous results. 

Other than that, I have also gone back to the basics as I felt that there might be some issues with my planning or homework. Hence, I try to address them first to get the basics in correct order. Also, not being too rigid also can be of help. I try to embrace what I have at hand and sometimes use the disadvantages to my advantage. Improvisation is a great way of overcoming obstacles.

My Impact

Through my films, I have always spoken about the marginalized people of our society, people who do not have a voice of their own. By telling their stories, I have made them feel seen and heard. I have created dialogue against the discrimination that is prevalent around us. Be it the name of class, caste, gender or religion. My films “Miss Man” and “If” are about the difficulties of being queer in modern India and the hurdles people face for being themselves. 

Both the films have created considerable noise globally and since I have had queer actors playing the roles themselves, the representation has made a huge impact on the audience internationally. I have known queer individuals who have got the courage to come out after seeing my films. There have been innumerable conversations on gender fluidity and sexuality after my films have been screened in different corners of the world. My films have also been taught in Universities in the US and Europe.

Scaling New Heights in Personal and Professional Triumphs

For me, true success is about creating an impact in people's lives and making them think about their position in society in some way. I want them to re-evaluate their actions and see a reflection of themselves through my films. If I can do that, I really look at that as a success. If people relate to my work and feel that I have been able to touch their lives in some way or the other through my work, I consider myself to be successful. Every new project for me is a way to measure my success. They are my yardsticks to understand how I have fared. For me, creating a discourse, impacting people’s lives and bringing about a change are all markers of true success. I am interested in humanity and exploring different aspects of it. Hence, if my films make the world a better place in some way, I will look at that as a big success.

The Synergy Between My Path and Recognition Values

Stories are important. Stories are urgent. We need stories now more than ever. The world is going through difficult times and it is stories and their power that can really be important in bringing about a change. I am essentially a storyteller. Through cinema, I tell stories of human lives. If my stories can make someone smile, laugh, cry or feel good about themselves, I will consider my job done. My journey has been filled with various challenges. I lost my father when I was 21. I was alone in a foreign country, vulnerable and scared. 

I didn’t have money to return to India to perform his last rites and I really felt that I was done. But cinema and stories saved me then. I knew I had to stand up and live to tell my stories. My films are about celebration of the indomitable human spirit. They are about overcoming all odds on the way. As WAHStory is about celebrating the transformative powers of stories and their tellers, my own story is also about not giving up through storytelling.

Here's the directorial showreel of Tathagata Ghosh