Short films are creative spaces to explore and share innovative ideas, say Tisca Chopra and Swara Bhaskar. By Upasana singh

Being an avid reader of books by O Henry, Jeffrey Archer and Edgar Allan Poe, actress Tisca Chopra has always been inspired with the concept of short films. So much so that producing and capturing a bulk of screen time in her debut Chutney in 2016, the actress was already prepping for another short film on extra-marital affairs.

As one of the panellists at the Royal Stag Barrel Select, the actress was in attendance for the screening of her new short film Chhuri where she is essaying the role of an ordinary woman, cheated on by her philandering husband, played by Anurag Kashyap. Surveen Chawla plays the other woman.

The wife confronts the mistress with a time-sharing formula and an unusual twist transpires when the glamour girl unwittingly reveals she is in multiple relationships. The man then is caught in a virtual no man’s land. The film, directed by Mansi Jain, has already garnered positive response digitally.

Discussing the idea of compiling the plot into a restricted time frame, Chopra shared, “This is the unique aspect about short films. They are  direct and intense which make for a perfect narrative.

Directors don’t need to ramble about character or the story to slowly let the audience get an idea. But it’s more about giving a glimpse into the crispiest elements within the first few seconds.”

With the advent of digitisation, it’s not unfair to say that the platform is getting wider and is filled with opportunities for budding artists to try their hands on  innovative ideas.

This is impacting on content and treatment of the mainstream Hindi film industry too, felt Chopra. “There has always been mainstream masala potboiler kind of films but now the concept of the short film is also setting a benchmark for interesting narrative-driven films. And these are the kinds of films I like to do.”

Apart from being an actor and producer, the actress has also written a handbook for aspirants called Act Smart, which talks about the dark side of casting couch in the competitive entertainment industry.

She added, “I wrote that book with the hope that people would get enlightened about the business aspects of an actor’s career.”

Swara Bhaskar, Anusha Bose, and Veena Nair were also present at the event along with directors Abhishek Sanyal and Mansi Jain.

The second screening was of Shame by Anusha Bose starring Swara Bhaskar and Ranveer Shourie. Revolving around the twisted journey of a meek, vulnerable woman, who emerges unapologetically to reclaim her dignity, confidence and the ability to express her desires.

This dark comedy is about the thin line that separates the two worlds; the haves and the have-nots; the indulgent and the repressed.

“Though this is my debut short film, I had a tremendous learning curve. A short film is a great platform where people can be creative without the pressure of box office collections, regulations of the Censor Board, threats, vandalisation or scandals. One has complete freedom to say and explore a story in their own way that perhaps would never have been explored in commercial formats”, said Bhaskar.

Asked about the challenging aspect of the time-bound format, she added, “Just because these films are time-restricted, characterisation becomes a tough part. One has to reach into the depth of the character without actually having the time to explore him/her. Second, it’s pretty cool that short films are budget-friendly but efficient team-work is of utmost importance.”

However, the actress seems tight-lipped about making any statement over the criticism she has received for her controversial letter to film-maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

It’s true that fame is accompanied by demanding consequences and the actress has suffered from the harsh realities of the internet.

Commenting on her struggles, Bhasker asserted, “As a society, we’re now paying more attention to trolls and memes flowing on the internet each and every day. We don’t even have the patience to check whether the memes are correct or the facts in them are correct. Just because there is a picture and someone has printed inappropriate words with it, we assume that they are true. This seems to be the  scariest thing happening over social networking sites. And due to this, not just feminism but every ‘ism’ is getting misunderstood.”



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