Pushing the Thresholdhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/pushing-the-threshold/

Pushing the Threshold

Pune-based Sumit Vanjari talks about his short film Umbartha,which was recently shown at Stuttgart Film Festival

AT 27,filmmaker Sumit Vanjari is a young man with many ideals. He says he was taught to be so by his father. With that detail in mind,one is able to grasp that he is not being pretentious when he “guarantees” that he will “never make a movie for money.” It also explains why he experimented with 24 short films before making one that could be shown to audiences and why he has spent the last one-and-a-half year working on five drafts of a single script for a feature film.

His ideals,however,have not let him down. Vanjari’s short film Umbartha was recently screened at the 10th Indian Film Festival,Stuttgart,Germany,held from July 17-21. The eight-minute film,which tells the story of a young widow hiding a love affair from her son who accidentally stumbles upon it,has been screened at other film festivals too,and won an award for best actor at the By2coffee National Level Short Film Festival,Bangalore.

Vanjari explains that name of his film means the threshold. “I think people have two lives — one that is inside their four walls and another that is outside. I wanted to explore the life of this young woman inside and outside her walls. Women have physical and emotional needs and that is not wrong. But there are societal impositions. I present the situation without commenting on what is right or wrong,” says Vanjari.

Working with a budget that he hesitates to share,Vanjari says he shot the film in three days while still studying at the Department of Communication Studies,University of Pune. The editing was done in the college editing lab. “I had no fancy equipment and no money to pay my team,but those are not prerequisites for making a powerful film. I believe that it’s about the script and actors. I had a good story and people who believed it,” he says.

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Doing a rethink on letting out the film’s budget,Vanjari shares that he worked with only Rs 5,000. “I share this so that others like me will know and be inspired to believe that money is not what makes a good film,” he says.

Among the reactions the film has drawn,there are some that have stuck in his mind. “A friend’s mother came visiting one day and my mother asked her if she wanted to take a look at Umbartha. By the end of the film,she was in tears. Incidentally,she is a widow herself,” he says.

Vanjari admits that though he is not looking to please the audience,appreciation is necessary. “My talent is the same that it was earlier,but the recognition at Stuttgart could help pave the way forward,” says Vanjari,who is also working on the script of a feature film and is now looking for producers.