Saturday, May 25, 2024

A Conversation with Garima Garg – Costume Designer and film producer

Edited by – Robin Bhuyan (Editor-in-Chief)

Written by – Manish Das

Interview by – Parijat Handique

Enigmatic Horizon recently had a conversation with Garima Garg, a well-known name in the entertainment industry of Assam. The wife of the popular and talented singer Zubeen Garg, she has been active in the industry for over a decade as a costume designer. In 2017, she also began her journey as a producer for the film ‘Mission China’. Join us as we discuss several aspects of her career, struggles faced by Assamese filmmakers, and the impact of AI in cinema.

How did you enter the field of costume designing in cinema ?

I initially entered the entertainment industry as a costume designer in the drama sector. Following that, I began working in mobile theater. However, I noticed distinct differences in the experiences between these mediums. Subsequently, around 2010, I transitioned into the cinema industry. My first movie project was “You Are Not My Julie,” although the film never saw release due to various reasons. Nevertheless, I had a positive experience working in cinema and learned a great deal.

Could you share your experience as a producer?

I ventured into film production in 2017 with the action film “Mission China.” Over the years, I’ve gained five to six years of experience, and I believe I’m progressively improving. When my husband, Zubeen, first contemplated making a film, he returned from Mumbai to Assam with the goal of contributing to the Assamese film industry. Thus, supporting his vision became my priority. Whenever budget constraints arose, due to his unwavering dedication, he even impulsively suggested selling one of our apartments to fund the project. Such is his dedication to his profession.

What challenges do you see in the Assamese film industry, and what strategies do you employ to address these issues?

The Assamese film industry presents a multitude of challenges, and my costume design profession is no exception. Moreover, the Assamese film sector lacks a well-established industry, which compounds the challenges. However, there have been notable improvements in recent times, particularly in technical aspects. We’ve benefited from the support of filmmakers and technicians who have established themselves in Mumbai. This collaborative effort has been instrumental in addressing some of these challenges.

As the wife of the renowned artist Zubeen Garg, how do you balance your professional and personal life?

I met Zubeen long before our marriage, and I entered the field of costume design after our wedding. I was well-prepared for the challenges and problems that come with our professions. We support each other not only in our professional endeavors but also in managing personal issues. Our mutual support has been vital to maintaining a healthy balance.

In your opinion, has Zubeen reached the pinnacle of his talent and success?

The people of Assam have known about Zubeen’s talent for approximately 30 years. At a time when Hindi songs dominated, a 20-year-old Zubeen began popularizing Assamese songs, despite numerous challenges and hardships. Like all artists, he has faced both conflicts and satisfaction in his creative journey.

We’ve heard that you possess a flair in writing. Could you tell us about your recent work in writing, such as songs or poems?

I started writing poems back in the 8th grade, although I tend to be quite sporadic with my writing. When inspiration strikes, I jot down one or two lines. Typically, I post these thoughts on social media before bedtime. While I receive requests to write more, my occasional laziness often gets in the way of completing longer pieces.

Many new artists are emerging in the Assamese film industry. What are your thoughts on them?

The influx of new talent in the Assamese film industry is indeed exciting. We’re keen on collaborating with these talented individuals because they bring fresh ideas and creative concepts to the table. Their diverse perspectives and unique backgrounds inspire us, and they have produced outstanding work in terms of stories, songs, series, and platforms like YouTube. Social media has made it easier for them to gain recognition, and audiences are increasingly appreciating their work.

What are the most significant challenges facing the Assamese film industry?

The Assamese film industry grapples with numerous challenges and issues. Our senior artists, such as Munin Barua, Biju Phukan, Nipon Goswami, and Bani Das, used to gather to discuss these problems and collectively seek solutions. We advocate for improvements, including the implementation of policies and infrastructure development. Despite a growing audience, the number of cinema halls remains stagnant. We believe that increasing the number of theaters would not only benefit the industry but also generate revenue for the government.

Could you share details about your upcoming projects?

Our latest project, “Roi Roi Binale,” is under our production banner. Shooting is scheduled to commence in December. Currently, we’re also working on “Shikar,” a high-budget film featuring Zubeen as the lead. Additionally, Himangshu Prasad Das is directing a new film, and production for “Bungalow No. 11” begins on October 9; it’s a horror-comedy film, which is a genre that you have probably never seen in Assamese cinema.

Zubeen Garg is widely loved, but some people have mixed feelings when he appears in films as an actor. What’s your take on this?

Differing opinions are a natural part of any artist’s journey. While many adore Zubeen, it’s not unexpected that some individuals may have mixed feelings. That’s all I can say.

In times of technological advancements, how do you see the impact of AI on the Assamese film industry?

Currently, AI hasn’t made a substantial impact on the Assamese film industry, and its influence in Indian cinema as a whole remains limited as well. South Indian cinema tends to utilize technology more extensively than Bollywood and the Assamese film sector. AI has its merits, such as aiding in graphics and visual effects. However, it also raises concerns, particularly in the music industry, where AI can mimic an artist’s voice without permission. While AI’s role is gradually expanding, it may impact the authenticity of original content and the artists themselves. I think this is the biggest danger.

Regarding upcoming film projects, what inspires their planning? For instance, shooting in foreign countries like London.

The film set to complete shooting in London is not one of our productions. The producers are based in London and have experience as producers in Bollywood, as well as working on numerous short films and documentaries. They have come forward to contribute to the Assamese film industry, with Diganta Borgohain directing the film.

Ok. Thank you for your time. We wish you the best in your upcoming projects!

Thank you!

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