SonyLIV launched two of its short films at a glitzy event in Mumbai. It took place in one of the city’s landmarks and the media was in full attendance. Having experienced some big film launches, I experienced a déjà vu as the press photographers bellowed, ‘Mandira Ma’am, right, right’. ‘Mandira Ma’am’ centre, centre’.
The turnout was impressive and once again proved that even the pundits can be wrong. Make no mistake, this was not a slow news day and yet, photographers and journalists from the major media houses made it a point to cover the event.
And yesterday wasn’t a #SlowNewsDay. On the occasion of World Music Day, there were a couple of events lined up. Yet, the camera army trooped into the SonyLIV launch, giving it all the trappings of a big event.
One good thing about short film projects is that the people who work in this medium know that the medium needs them as much as they need the medium. So, you see the actors come in on time for these events, be courteous to the media and the fans who see them at these events – so on and so forth.
I have not experienced the independent movie in the foreign countries, but I think it might be close to what one experiences at the launches of short films. There’s this palpable air of ‘we are doing this together’ when the stars talk to the media. It’s not like they’re talking to the people, but with them. And that was the best part of attending the SonyLIV event.
Just two months ago, when I told my colleagues that I am joining a company that only covers webseries, short films and projects in the streaming space, the reactions were polarizing. Somewhere in between quips that this job meant a ‘free Netflix account for 6 months’ to whispers that I couldn’t handle the pressure of mainstream Bollywood journalism and therefore took the ‘next best job’, I realised that not many people gave the short film market in India a snowflake’s chance in hell. Till April, the scene was bleak, I wondered whether there would be a beat to cover in the short film category.
In April, like a sudden Mumbai monsoon, we were deluged with news. ALTBalaji launched a clump of web series, Netflix started paying attention to India, and so did Amazon. Next month, four big, ‘online only’ web series hit India and a number of films. One of them, and by far the most glitzy, was SonyLIV’s launch of their short films., “The Gift’ and ‘Papa We Love You Too’.