Masterclass with Ranjan Palit


“40 years of being a film loader, focus puller, lighting assistant, 2nd camera, crash camera, shooting assistant, gaffer, grip – all in one, shooting over 100 documentaries and then bringing all that experience in shooting feature films – Ranjan Palit has had an outstanding trajectory. Throughout his early years of filmmaking, Rajan Palit, one can say, was practicing Dogme, even before Dogme was conceived  by Lars Von Trier! 

Refusing expensive and spectacular special effects or other technical gimmicks, avoiding ‘alienation and distraction’ by overproduction and focusing intensely on story and performances, Ranjan Palit has mastered the craft, consistently practicing most of these principles – focusing on the bare essential, without any facades or frills whatsoever; an approach so stark, resulting in imagery so striking that it brings water in the eye…. 

While being a DoP for other stalwarts, Ranjan Palit’s tryst with his own kind of cinema as a director has only intensified. Known to play with shadows, Ranjan Palit’s latest feature film “Lord of the Orphans” is truly ingenious, reflecting an exceptional creative order summoned from a chaotic underworld. One cannot but feel a haunting luminescence… 

Alumni of Film and Television Institute of India, Ranjan Palit is a 4 times National Award Winner. To know more of his body of work, please visit his IMDB page here. 


The Masterclass is designed to give a complete overview of Rajan Palit’s principles, perspective and practice.

‘Lord of the Orphans’ personifies Rajan Palit; it’s a film that unifies his personal, professional and political. The screening of this film along with a retrospective of some of his other major works will provide a ground for discussions.  These discussions will gradually be crafted into a specific discourse addressed through sessions like: 

(i)  Light, Shadows and Movement: Camera as an emotive device; 

(ii) What does it take to see through the dark : Philosophically and Cinematographically

(iii) What does it take to make a film? What does a film actually need? 

(iv) Moonlight rendezvous. 

In addition to the film screenings and discussions, there will be on-field exercises exploring the spaces in peculiar light in Auroville. Rustic locations will be explored in natural light, low light, twilight or moonlight situations, which is the speciality of Ranjan Palit. 

(i)   late afternoon light and twilight will be explored through forest trails, cycle paths and gardens; 

(ii)  street light will be explored during night walks on regular roads, while

(iii) moonlight will be explored through forest canopies, leading to vast fields under open skies as well as by the sea-side. 

Special feature will be a camera demo in a small forest studio/set-up – with minimal light such as candle light / LED lights or regular tungsten house bulbs. Camera to be used for demonstrations : Sony AS2 and IPhone 12 Pro Max (Plus any other personal camera/ phone camera that Ranjan Palit or anyone else may wish to bring on the table) 

The formal sessions will fluidly flow with informal interactions over tea or dinner where meaningful conversations, music or any other performances and sharings are welcome to the extent the time permits. 

“Usually cinematographers shoot the light, I shoot the dark” – Ranjan Palit. 

Beyond the industrial version of cinematography that needs thousands of watts of light, fancy grips and gadgets, assistants and lightmen, with this particular Masterclass we shall honour the individual version of cinema and cinematographic practice that pushes its limits on the other end of the light spectrum – the dark. 


We call cinematographers and filmmakers – industry dependent as well as independently industrious; aspiring as well as accomplished, both, to participate in a dialogue that will be assuredly passionate, with a highly perceptive practice of Ranjan Palit in twilight and moonlight. 

DATES: 21st to 27th March 2021 (6½ days) 

Followed by 2 days of retreat (27th & 28th March) with participants of Auroville Film Institute’s Unlock workshop. Details of Retreat to be announced soon. 




Selection will be on strength of application i.e on the basis of merit and motivation to join the workshop. Please fill the application form and write the statement of purpose thoughtfully. 

We request early applications because the sooner we complete the selection process, the better we can organise the travel and accommodation for the outstation participants. 

We shall process your application within 3 days of receipt. Any queries or clarifications can be sought within these 3 days. Selected applicants will be notified assuredly by the 4th day after receiving an application. Schedule plus all other details will be shared with the selection notification email. Fee payment should be done within 3 days after receiving the selection notification. 

Participation will be confirmed upon verification of payment. 

Last date of application is 8th March 2021.

FEES: INR 12000/- (inclusive of all taxes)

Please note that the Masterclass fee does not include travel or lodging-boarding. 

Auroville Film Institute, however, can guide selected participants to formulate a convenient travel plan as well as book lodging and boarding in Auroville, as per individual’s budget and preferences – adhering to all covid norms. 


Trains to Pondicherry directly are resumed from most parts of India. To Chennai, all trains  as well as all flights are operational. Chennai to Auroville is 150 km and takes about 3 to 4 hours. There are several options of local buses and passenger trains. We can specifically guide local travel from Chennai to Auroville individually.

For those preferring to travel by taxi, we recommend going for Auroville based taxi services as they can pick up from the Airport or anywhere in the city and drop straight to the respective Auroville guest house. Click here for Auroville shared transport service.


For accommodation, there is a wide range of options available in Auroville for all budgets. (Starting from Rs. 240/day upto Rs.4000/day) We recommend referring to Auroville Guest House Service for accommodation in Auroville. We shall be happy to assist in choosing / planning your stay in Auroville. We would prefer participants to stay together – in 2 or 3 guesthouses – depending on budget. We shall be happy to know your preferences and guide your accommodation booking accordingly.

Most guest houses in Auroville come with complimentary breakfast or have a self-help community kitchen.

For lunch and dinner there are several options available, multiple cuisines in all range (starting from a basic but wholesome meal of Rs.80 to an average of Rs. 200 to 400/meal) Participants are free to join Ranjan Palit wherever he is having lunch / dinner; alternatively they are free to explore and can also be guided to appropriate joints – depending on preferences. 

Please note that 1 lunch + 2 dinners specifically will be integrated with the schedule – and will be accounted for within the workshop framework and fees – as these will coincide with workshop time.


Certificate of participation will be issued by Auroville Film Institute; 90% of attendance in mandatory.


For detailed schedule and other queries, please write to: filminstitute@auroville.org.in or call / message on +91 9969879319.

WATCH OUT FOR OUR ANNOUNCEMENT ON RETREAT – on 27 & 28 March 2021!!! With participants of Auroville Film Institute’s Online filmmaking workshops in Lockdown ! 

We are planning to showcase participants’ films on the big beautiful screen of CINEMA PARADISO  – and celebrate beautiful filmmaking adventures, self expressions that bloomed at home, the site of our being, in times of a global lockdown !
Feel free to send in your enquiries and notify us at filminstitute@auroville.org.in / +919969879319 if you wish to come, screen your film in the Retreat !

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