Abhinava Bhattacharyya (CDC, 2016-2017)

One of the main takeaways after these 18 months at CDC is a certain rigor that it inculcates in you, because of the way it's designed. It's an extremely intensive course and there are very few students. It’s the only course in India that can offer this experience I think…not only in its design, but also in terms of the external faculty that's coming in, and our own internal faculty.

Usually there's this divide between theory and practice - theory stays in the classroom and practice is out on location but in this course marrying the two really helps. When you're sitting in class and watching a film, what you've done is informing how you watch that film. Everything that has been taught to you in class is finding a way to express itself in your work.

The exercises we do are with a view to something beyond, something that you can learn from, something that you can carry forward. So it's not like we're just doing exercises for the sake of it, just for marks or whatever. The marks actually don't matter at all. It's more about what you're learning and what you can take forward into the next step.

When you enter the course you have a very conventional idea of what the documentary is. It is set in stone – “this is what a documentary is”, and that's broken on the first day itself. The entire experience of the course has completely changed the way I look at film, and even the way I look at life.

It’s been a great experience and I am very happy that I did the course. In hindsight I think - I may have not done it also, that would have been horrible!

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