A cinematic journey during lockdown

Conceived and completed during the ongoing lockdown, 'Baat ek dopahar ki' ('One fine afternoon') is a short film shot entirely on mobile phones and made by Janani Ray, Founder and Director of Articoll Pictures and Theatre Group. They say, when there is a will, there is a way, nothing stops an artist from pursuing art, no matter what the circumstances are. Art is what keeps an artist alive and sane. The film is an example of such a team of artists, who decided to pick up a project during the lockdown in order to keep themselves close to their passion in these testing times. No mics, no tripods, no professional cameras, none of the actors left their homes to shoot, yet they made a film that connected with the viewers.

The search within is an eternal concept in Indian thought process and though it may sound easy, in contemporary fast urban life, most people actually are never able to sit back and take stock of happenings in their lives, leave aside searching within. Hence, we mostly have to look for those small moments, those small conversations that can help divert our lives and force us to look within and without.

The short movie 'Baat ek Dopahar ki' is based on one such small conversation that may have a ripple effect on the protagonists of the film, and perhaps even the viewers. The two protagonists in this case are 'Advait' and 'Pronita'. While Advait is a passionate theatre actor, who in his 'imperfect vision of perfection' has ended up physically hurting his co-actors in the past, Pronita is a student of psychology who wants to help Advait control his 'issues', but is deeply mired in her own insecurities. The movie is interplay of their emotions through a conversation, and the stimulus that it provides.

The uncertain times that we are currently living in can be best utilised by looking within and the movie, though merely of 15 minutes and 42 seconds, can very well provide you questions to break the initial glass ceiling of your inhibitions. Believe me that initial glass ceiling is the most difficult one to even identify, but once one is through with that, there rarely is a looking back. Watch the film for the love of movie-making and for that initial push that you may just be waiting for.

Three times National Awardee veteran film maker Raja Sen, applauded the effort calling it "praiseworthy". Professor Rajeshwar Dayal, Former Faculty of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, said "…the black and white feel reminds me of Satyajit Ray's era. Great film I would say". Niloy Roy, Dean, Shri Ram Centre, called it "a splendid work of art". The film was released on Youtube and is still available on the channel of Janani Ray, Writer, Director and Editor of the film.

It introduces three actors Altaf Hussain, Prerna Singh and Suzain Amin. All three actors have been pursuing theatre for the last few years, Altaf Hussain has attended workshops at the National School of Drama and even directed some plays in the past.

(Anuj Sharma is the News Editor, All India Radio, News Service Division, New Delhi. He is also a cinephile)

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