More than a Friend

Rupsa is a filmmaker. Ranja teaches in a college. They are in love with each other. They have been living together for quite some time. Rupsa is making a documentary on the public perception of same-sex relationships in India. She meets a lot of people – some supportive of the issue, some dismissive, and others apprehensive of it. Meanwhile, Ranja’s mother comes to stay with them. She has always been a little uneasy with the idea of her daughter’s being in love with another woman. Their domestic help, Lakkhir Ma, also seems be wary of this relationship. This film explores the lives and outlooks of these four characters in the context of a growing awareness about same-sex relationships in India. The film is interspersed with real-life interviews of people belonging to various sections of the society. The film does not attempt at answering all the questions it raises, but presents the multifaceted nature of the debates around the subject.

Debalina, is an independent filmmaker and cameraperson. She studied comparative literature and worked in television before she turned freelance. She has worked on feature length documentary films, short films, travelogues, music videos, telefilms and mixed genre. She is also a still photographer and that is how she started her career. She is passionate about issues on gender and sexuality, environment and occasionally writes for newspapers and magazines.

Her films got selected in the Berlinale Talent Campus, Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), British Film Institute (BFI), International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala etc.

She directed and worked as a cameraperson for a series of television documentaries with episodes on violence in food habit, animal sacrifice, girl child abuse etc., followed by Bini Paisay Bilet – a series of travelogues shot in Europe for which she did sound and camera. Her short film Sar..r..ra (English title ‘Joy Run’) was selected in the ‘Shoot Goals! Shoot Movies!’ short film competition of Berlinale Talent Campus 2005, the 55th Berlin International Film Festival. She made A Stranger in a Bioscope – a short film about her first time experience in Berlin, which was produced by Sabotage Films, Berlin. Her short film on Indian independence and partition The Broken Land which was selected for the ‘Independence in 3 minutes’ project funded by Channel 4, United Kingdom.

Debalina’s urge to work on socio-cultural issues took a course with her direction, camera and sound for Kee KathaTahar Sathe (English Title: “Sh..Sh..S(he)”) – a short film on male homosexual sex workers, Mother Courageous on maternal deaths in Uttar Pradesh commissioned by PSBT, India, Taar Cheye She Anek Aaro(English Title: More Than A Friend), exploring the lives and outlooks of four characters in the context of a growing awareness about same-sex relationships in India. Her video capsule Bahurupee (English title ‘Men in Disguise’) was selected and showcased in the Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpepen (MUHKA), Belgium. She also made two full length children’s tele-films

In addition, she has been doing camerawork for various national and international projects which includes a documentary on sex workers of Kolkata for Current Television, Italy. A documentary, Border to Border, on the Chinese community of Kolkata for a Hakka television channel of Taiwan. A documentary on the river Ganga, a documentary on 80 years old religious Buddhist, who migrated from Tibet 50 years back and founded a little village at the Indo-Nepal border and many other interesting and challenging projects. Her latest documentary …ebang bewarish (English Title: …and the unclaimed) has started touring national and international festivals. This is a documentary which talks about two unclaimed dead bodies and many more dead and living ones. Presently she is involved in many other projects and planning to tread in as many avenues of creative filmmaking as possible.