22 Nov 2023  |   04:54am IST

Satyajit Ray is more like my style of filmmaking: Stuart Gatt

Stuart Gatt, the director of ‘Catching Dust’, the opening film of the 54th International Film Festival of India speaks about the festival circuit journey of his directorial debut film and how he hopes to make films in India
Satyajit Ray is more like my style of filmmaking: Stuart Gatt

Dolcy D’Cruz

The 54th International Film Festival of India hadThe 54th International Film Festival of India had a great start with the opening film, ‘Catching Dust’ directed by British-born but very much Indian at heart, Stuart Gatt. 2023 is a special year for the young filmmaker as his directorial debut has been to Tribeca Film Festival in the USA and the Raindance Film Festival in the UK and now to IFFI. Coming to IFFI is even more special for Stuart as it is the homeland of his maternal family. Stuart’s mother was born in Bangalore but traces her roots to Chennai. “She was born in a small mining town, KGF. At the time, my grandparents left and came to the UK when she was very young. We were part of a much bigger Indian community in London, in the UK, it's like so many of us. You always feel like you're connected to the motherland even though you don't live there. That's been an important part of my identity. My dad left when I was very young, so my mum raised me. I grew up in an Indian household and coming back here, it feels like home,” says Stuart Gatt, who is on his first visit to India. Speaking about the success of the film at the festivals, he says, “It has been incredible. You make a film in a vacuum, in a way. I learned, recently, that as a filmmaker, you just have to have complete confidence in your own choices. You can't make films hoping someone else might think this or think that. You have to let your instinct drive you and then hope that once it's done, that people will respond to it. It's so surreal that the film has had the reception that it has and it feels really humbling,” says Stuart. Written and directed by Stuart Gatt, the film stars Jai Courtney, Dina Shihabi, and Ryan Corr. The film is produced by Mark David, Jon Katz, Stuart Gatt, and Edward R Pressman. Instead of shooting on the digital format, the entire film was shot on 35mm roll. Stuart loves the classics when it comes to cinema and even though he grew up watching a lot of Hindi movies, he was hugely influenced by the works of Satyajit Ray. “Satyajit Ray is more like my style of filmmaking. I love Bollywood, but he was someone that I studied a lot, actually, just watching as a filmmaker. He's one of the greatest filmmakers ever, and he really spoke to me. I don't watch a lot of modern cinema, no matter where it's from. I'm someone who would rather watch a Satyajit Ray film 300 times than watch some modern film that's not very good. I'm definitely more someone who's obsessed with the classics,” says Stuart. Stuart is certainly taking a lot of stories back from India. “I would see how things develop, but I would love to make films here. I've made films like about the Asian diaspora in the UK. I would love to do that here.” Stuart will be heading to Bangalore, his mother’s hometown for a few days.


Idhar Udhar