To Be or Not to Be

Exploring this subject is the short film,Just Friends,directed by Arun Sukumar.

Written by Rohan Swamy | Published: May 16, 2013 3:27:51 am

Arun Sukumar’s Just Friends,which addresses the issue of peer pressure,will be screened at schools across the country

One of the common aspects of growing up for most people is the relentless force of peer pressure. Exploring this subject is the short film,Just Friends,directed by Arun Sukumar. Dealing with the sensitive subject of relationships during adolescent years and the constant pressure from friends to be in one,the story is a take on the lives of three students.

The project was commissioned by Edumedia,a firm that works towards using cinema to impart education to children in schools. The short film,which is in the post-production stage,will be shown in schools both in India and abroad as part of the endeavour. Going through the nuances of the film,Sukumar mentions that the underlying message is hard-hitting and the idea of showing it in schools is to use cinema to empower and educate children.

An alumnus of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII),Sukumar has worked along with actors Manish Gandhi,Sayani Gupta and Ronjini Chakraborty — all from FTII — for the film,essaying the characters of Kabir,Riya and Aliya,respectively.

Speaking of his role in the film,Gandhi says,“Kabir and Aliya are good friends but they decide to start seeing each other after their friends tell them that it is the ‘in’ thing. The truth is,neither of them are comfortable with the idea,but both want to be socially acceptable.” Sukumar drives home the point,“This happens in schools and colleges,doesn’t it? A lot of us might have even gone through it.”

On a lighter vein,Gupta,whose character Riya is a happy-go-lucky girl,feels that coming back to the institute for the film was like a homecoming. About her character,Gupta reveals,“Riya is loud and brash. She is the one who convinces Aliya to start dating Kabir. The thing is,she already has a boyfriend in the film,so she argues that Aliya’s ‘cool quotient’ too would receive a shot in the arm. The character is definitely not very serious in life. She lives for the moment. But she is pivotal to the plot of the film.”

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