A few months ago we did some character development for a physiotherapy clinic. They gave us a brief based on which we developed the characters. But the process seemed very superficial. We thought that these characters should have greater depth to them. There should be a purpose as to why they came to the clinic in the first place. Maybe one of them sprained her ankle or another experienced joint pains stories which we never came up with when we designed these characters.
We needed someone who could shed some more light on whether characters should have a story of their own.
Enter Krishnarjun Bhattacharya, an author, filmmaker, gaming enthusiast, who came to solve our problem. His dystopian novel ‘Tantrics of Old’, which came out in June, 2014 proves his love for all things dark and grotesque (and we’re not referring to the author profile at the end of the book).
We conversed about his characters and how he developed them. He told us how he was inspired by the book ‘Chander Pahar’ and ‘Protidhhoni’, a short story by Sharadindu Bandhopadhyay that his sister narrated to him when he was a child, and had somewhat of a lasting impact. Among his inspirations for Tantrics of Old, there is also H.P Lovecraft, Ursula Le Guin, and this little known author called Darrell Schweitzer. He also a short film to his credit which he made during his NID days called ‘The Haunting of Somnath Banerjee‘. He feels that character development is most important. The people around him are his source of inspiration. He observes them and filters the desirable from the undesirable. Then, he interprets these traits to suit his characters. Krishnarjun is a firm believer of the fact that characters live on, but the author is dead after he writes a book. “The book is then out there, free to be read, debated upon, and judged, and the author ceases to exist, only the universe in the pages does.”, quipped Krishnarjun.
This made us realise the impact our characters could create on audiences.
He has also conducted interviews with his characters, which means he has come with entire back-stories for them. Regardless of the duration for which they appear in his novel, he knows how every character was born, lived out his/her life, leading to their final moments. As character developers ourselves, we were awed by this fact. Maybe, we too can come up with back stories for our characters occasionally, and pen down another inhouse graphic novel like Homewards.
We got talking about another thing that forms an essential part of our how we earn our bread and butter Social Media! The discussion was about people’s preference for visuals over text on social media platforms, because they are ready pieces of information. We also got into a debate as to whether marketing is essential or not. Krishnarjun declared that as long as the content is good, you need not create much noise about your product. We countered that if you don’t take your product to the masses, they won’t be able to judge whether it is good or not. Now we would not like to bore you with a blow by blow account of our debate with him, so we’ll stop here.
As per our discussion with Krishnarjun, visuals are more effective than text, so here are a few pictures and videos that we took during the talk.
And the mandatory team picture with Krishnarjun!