Exclusive | Director Aditi Banerjee on independent filmmaking: It has been lonely,

OTT platforms have successfully broken gender stereotypes. In the past few years, we have observed how female-driven content has come out and was embraced by the audience. Among many, the one series that recently was ‘Love at Fifth Floor’. 

Women tell women’s stories at best because they are aware of the difficulties, problems, and obstacles that women go through. This is why they can tell women’s stories more comprehensively with ease.

Adding one more female-centric show to the long list is by multi-talented, award-winning filmmaker Aditi Banerjee. She has successfully and poignantly presented the story of three women from totally different backgrounds, facing different challenges that life is throwing at them. 

Speaking to WION, director, writer, producer and teacher Aditi, who has worked in a variety of genres and travelled across the world, talked about her debut show, and the challenges she faced working independently.

You have produced, written and directed the show — so how was your journey?

Seeing work that is out and available for people to respond to and make their own is always gratifying. The journey has been at times lonely and difficult but satisfying. There were challenges at each stage — budgetary constraints, creating hacks for the equipment, time constraints, doing post-production during Covid and finally putting it out on a platform, especially for an independent series. I don’t think people make series in this way so it has been an unconventional path. 

Further, talking about how long she has been working on the show, she said, “I directed my first non-fiction film in 2005 and there have been many after that. I wouldn’t say I have been preparing for this role, but that this was a natural progression.”

‘Love at Fifth Floor’ — why did you choose this as your debut show?

I had been making commissioned work for some time and most of it was non-fiction. I wanted to work with fiction and see what my voice was, and how it would come to life. So I decided to start small and independent and see where it would take me. I wanted to tell a story that was about the nuances of everyday life, and this was it.

In the OTT platforms right now, more women-driven content has been made. What’s your take on that?

I’m glad it is happening. I hope we reach a point where we no longer need to call any content ‘women-driven’ and don’t have a separate category. We don’t say ‘men-driven’, do we? I think that’s where we need to get.

The show is centred around the lives of three women in urban India and different backgrounds. You have written the show also. So what inspired you?

Getting married and moving to a city and living in an apartment complex was the inspiration. The feeling that the desire of women has many shades and is complex and often oversimplified on screen and that led me to write this story of three different women and their lives.

Out of Uma, Ikjot and Anya, which is the character that has a special corner in your heart?

This is tough to answer. Each one has a special place. The character of Ikjot was the most fictional of the lot and I had a wonderful time shaping her.

What are your upcoming projects? Something you are excited about the most?

I am excited about what is in store for me. There is an idea that I worked on for an OTT platform last year and there is a filmmaking workshop that I am going to do in Arunachal, so I am looking forward to all that. New places, people and ideas excite me.

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