Short on Celluloidhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/pune/short-on-celluloid/

Short on Celluloid

Arbhaat,a short film club launching in the city,will help draw appreciation for the neglected genre.

Arbhaat,a short film club launching in the city,will help draw appreciation for the neglected genre.

Ten-year-old Samir lives with his widowed mother and grandfather,who are struggling to make ends meet and depend on a grinding machine for their livelihood. While supporting their lives,this grinding machine has consumed the little boy and its noisy drone is always playing in his head,even when he’s away from the machine.

How the machine and his family’s struggle affect Samir’s psyche is depicted beautifully in the 2005 short film,Girni,among the first to be made by filmmaker Umesh Kulkarni. The 20-minute film bagged a National Award for its sensitive narration yet the name rarely rings a bell among regular movie goers. “It’s still very difficult for short filmmakers. Most people don’t know much about short films and so they don’t crave to watch them,unlike other movies,” says Kulkarni.

Striving to draw recognition for the genre of short films from the Indian audience and to help them appreciate the form,Kulkarni — along with award-winning actor and writer Girish Kulkarni — is setting up Arbhaat Short Film Club. The Pune-based club will screen short films from around the world on the first Thursday of every month,starting in May. The films have been painstakingly collected from different short film festivals that Kulkarni has visited or participated in over the last 10 years. “I have a bank of over 100 films that I collected from countries such as Italy,France,the US and Korea,among several other places,exchanging with fellow filmmakers or festival organisers. The topics and styles range children’s films to animation to socially relevant films,” he says.

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The membership is open to anyone who is over 18 years of age for an annual fee of Rs 1,200. Films will be screened at the National Film Archive of India theatre,on Law College Road.

“My hope is that through the short film club,more people will recognise the potential and possibilities that this form offers and begin to appreciate it more,” says Kulkarni. A short film technically runs for under 30 minutes,although there are also several medium-length films that run for up to 60 minutes. “It’s not just the duration of the film that is different. Because of the run time,there are hundreds of new possibilities and ways to explore the story and experiment with technique. The medium at once gives you both democracy and freedom,” he adds.

Over time,Kulkarni also hopes that short films will be featured on television and in movie theatres,so they get a platform similar to the international film circuit. “We also need an international short film festival,but that will come with time. First,we need to build a response to the genre and then we can plan festivals,” Kulkarni says.