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Calling the Shorts

A buffet of short films shows what living and loving in contemporary India is all about

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Chandigarh | Published: June 20, 2013 10:25:33 pm

A spirited independent single mother looking for love on the internet; a nation obsessed with cricket; moving pictures over steaming cups of chai; frictions of morality,class and culture; and the dual status of our lives. Stories that reflect what living,loving and longing in the real,rooted and contemporary India is all about.

As part of their India Is initiative,Viacom18 Motion Pictures and Anurag Kashyap Films Private Limited has co-produced five unique short format movies centered around the core theme of “India is a Visual Journey”. It’s a slice of new-age cinema,and features the works of filmmakers Neeraj Ghaywan,Vasan Bala,Anubhuti Kashyap,Shlok Sharma and Getanjali Rao. These films capture the varied emotions,aspects and layers of modern India.

“Each story picks a particular element which represents the pulse of India in the current time,” says Rudrarup Datta,Head Marketing and Operations,Viacom18 Motion Pictures. As Bala points out,“Life is evolving. The country is evolving. The internet is available. Cinema is bound to change and evolve.”

It’s this spirit of evolution and experimentation that prompted Viacom18 and Youtube to zoom in on short films,which are regarded as the future frontier of filmmaking. “Movie viewing is slowly moving from multiplexes and single screen theatres and television to handheld devices to the virtual space. The young consumer is looking for fast consumption and has a shorter attention span,and in order to gauge that,short films are here to stay,” says Datta,adding how the films,in any case,have reduced from three hours to an hour and a half,and are even episodic in nature,like the recent Bombay Talkies.  

Director Neeraj Ghaywan feels a buffet of these short films best describe how he and his fellow filmmakers feel about India. “It is how we are,not some tourism shots from Rajasthan. Also,a short film is a test of craft,” says Ghaywan,whose film showcases a real couple handling real issues concerning them. Shlok Sharma agrees. “The beauty of short film is the freedom it provides to experiment. There are no rules or restrictions,and it’s fun expressing through this format,” says Sharma.

The short film format also provides a good space to scout for new talent and encourage new age filmmakers. On the commercial viability front,Datta is confident that over time,solutions will come up. “Once people get exposed to and used to this format,one can go for the pay per view mode,” he says.

Although ambitious,it’s a long haul to make a country used to free downloads to pay for films online. While Datta is hopeful,Anubhuti Kashyap,differs. “As much as I love the short film format,things move at a slow pace and there are very few producers or channels to support such projects,” she says.

It’s just a form,what’s important is someone has something to say,irrespective of long or short,reasons Bala. “A story is not just a start,middle and an end. It can be an expression. In any medium of art,that is what one strives to achieve,to reduce the distance between the original thought and its output,” Bala makes a point.

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