One short film is redefining the term ‘going place’ to another level. Amma Meri – a 30-minute short film about a villager is receiving rave reviews across film festivals in the country. The Digital Hash connected with its writer-director-producer Tarun Jain about the reception of the short film and its future.
What is the inspiration behind the short film – Amma Meri?
It is an accumulation of the research that I have collected in the last 10 years while making other short films, documentaries shot in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. I wanted to tell a story which depicted the complexities of life. The story developed as we approached production. I have taken inspiration from Gurvinder Singh and Turkish filmmaker Nuri Bilge Ceylan.
How many days was the film shot in and in which locations?
We shot for the film in five days in 2015, but we finished the film in 2 years. I was always running out of funds. It was difficult to finish the film in Delhi for the post production work. We were trying to get it done in Mumbai and we met Shajith Koyeri, who has been associated with Vishal Bhardwaj for sound design.
Though the film is set in Haryana, we shot the film in Uttar Pradesh. Though we did explore areas near Delhi, we found our village in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh.
Protagonist Anurag Arora has done a fabulous job, and carries the film on his shoulders. Was it difficult to convince him for the film?
When we were casting for Amma, Meri we wanted Delhi-based actors for it. I have been doing independent films for a long time and I knew Anurag Sir, though we were skeptical, since our budget was tight. But Anurag Sir was more interested with how we treated the subject. He was a big support and a versatile actor.
What kind of response has the film generated at the Indian film festivals? Are there plans to go to international film festivals?
We have submitted the films to various festivals. It recently premiered at the International Documentary and Short Film Festival of Kerala. Since it is slightly longer in duration (30 minutes), it didn’t win the competition. But the jury members touted it as ‘one of the best films in the line-up. We have also submitted the film to International Film Festival of India, Goa.
We have submitted the film to around 40-42 film festivals around the globe, so far. This is a treatment based film. These films find audiences at rare places.
Helming a project as a writer, producer and director, what are the challenges and advantages?
Being a writer-director-producer helped in easing out the feasibility of things. I would improvise on the scenes based on the requirement and the budgets, without changing the message of the scene. But being the producer also means that you have to fight with yourself in justifying the budgets. The problem with short films is that you can’t guarantee returns.
What according to you attracts film-makers to internet? Is it essential to the development of short films scenario?
Internet has made even the village dwellers aware of short films. It helps film-makers, especially short film-makers, show their body of work to the audiences.
Practically, no one will suggest you to make a short film, but it is more of an inner-calling. Once you make a short film, you have so many things to tell you make more short films. It is a tough journey, that’s why a lot of film-makers venture into other fields like commercial film-making and journalism.