Aiban “Joel” Gogoi, a guitarist and activist who feels strongly about the ground reality in the North East, takes a 44 hour-long train journey to accompany his singer-girlfriend Shivranjani Singh who is moving to Mumbai with their cat to explore a life beyond the mountains, even if it means a nine to five job working for a multi-national corporation.
In the course of the journey between Guwahati and Mumbai, they realise they are headed in different directions. This story of two Indias, separated by distance and ambition, is a collection of eight musical moments from the journey. The actors, hence, have sung and performed all songs live on a train in eight long takes.
Side A Side B, a real world musical structured like a 90s album, features eight songs, performed and recorded live on the train. The film, hence, plays out in eight scenes (apart from the Intro and the Bonus Track in the opening and closing credits) shot with two phone cameras in eight long takes.
The musical juxtaposes two contrasting worlds and perspectives employing two contrasting narratives from the 90s. The sacred realism of the Dogme narrative (preserved by long takes and live music on location) is intercut with the time and space jumping aesthetic of the music video narrative.
The young musician-actors have sung and performed all songs themselves and the music director plays the musical narrator of the film. Most of the film was shot on the Kamakhya Express that departed Guwahati on July 7th night by an eight people guerrilla unit in 44 hours.
40 year-old Sudhish Kamath, a journalist and film critic with over 20 years of writing experience, has written, directed and produced three independent feature films. His debut film That Four Letter Word (2006) has been remade in Gujarati this year as Pela Adhi Akshar. In 2010, Kamath made Good Night Good Morning, a conversation film about two strangers falling in love over the course of a phone call on New Year’s Eve in New York. The film had back to back premieres at the Mumbai Film Festival (2010) and the South Asian International Film Festival, New York (2010), played at the Transilvania International Film Festival, Romania (2011), Noordelijk Film Festival, Netherlands (2011), Habitat Film Festival, Delhi (2011) and Silk Screen Film Festival, Pittsburgh(2011). Good Night Good Morning released in January 2012 through PVR Director’s Rare.
In 2013, Kamath brought together 10 other Indian directors with disparate styles of storytelling for the experimental serialised anthology X – Past is Present, to build a bridge between the different cinemas of India. X – Past is Present was the Opening Film at the South Asian International Film Festival (2014) and was selected in the World cinema section of the International Film Festival of Kerala (2014) before it released theatrically in November 2015. The film also played at the Habitat Film Festival, Delhi (2016), Bangalore International Film Festival (2016) and the Indie Meme Festival, Texas (2016).
What people are tweeting about Side A Side B
Recording the journey of Side A Side B
Interview with the director – Flickside
Making of Side A Side B – The Hindu
Review of Side A Side B – Flickside