Short Films that created a Buzz.


Hum saara bekaar ka cheez (kitchen garbage here) mitti mei daal dete hei....kuch fenkthe nai hein, isse mitti ka paushtikatha badtha hein,” (which translates to - we bury all the useless things in the soil) says the last sentence of the short film Chutney. At first glance, the line may appear to establish an unsettling relationship between food and death, particularly when the death in question is a murder, but once viewing the film, one will understand the context. This concept might easily have been braided into an endless television daily soap opera or a feature-length film with the addition of a few extraneous aspects. However, Chutney, keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way upto the finale, and has a quick and razorsharp tale that fits the ‘shorts’ description wonderfully.

Presented as an apparently innocuous narrative of vengeance unfolding over a plate of pakodas (served with green chutney) and two glasses of soft drink, Chutney condenses a complex plot into 15 minutes by focusing on a seemingly innocuous chit-chat about household matters. Now, that’s the beauty of the short film!! Short films are becoming increasingly popular among cinephiles as a result of streaming, shorter attention spans, and a need for emotionally charged narratives and are gaining traction in India at a moderate but steady pace. As recently as a few years ago, they were only known to those in the film industry, but recently they’ve been racking up tens of thousands of views online. While considerable changes are already occurring, such as the collapse of theatres and their eventual takeover by streaming services, COVID-19 appears to speed up the trend.

Invigorating Content

While the internet has enabled individuals to create and share work and has made it possible for filmmakers to reach out to consumers worldwide with unprecedented convenience, they are considered to be one of the most candid forms of filmmaking and serve as an effective medium for telling a compelling tale. People’s attention spans are shrinking as a result of the development of streaming services, and they crave less passionate tales than those showcased in mainstream theatres. Along with serving the entertainment factor, short films aim to raise awareness and spark discussion about societal issues. Addiction to drugs, domestic violence, socioeconomic disparities, class divisions, and the portrayal of the LGBTQ+ community are just a few of the problems that have been delicately handled through short films, while there is a vast selection of options available ranging from murder mysteries to rom-coms, for folks looking for entertainment.

“Many people believe that financial constraints are the primary reason for the creation of short films. While it is true that budget constraints can be a driving force behind the creation of a short film, there are a variety of other variables that might influence the choice to make one,” says Madan Ramvenkatesh, a Bangalorebased filmmaker, who has directed award-winning short films, documentaries, corporate films and has been a part of a few feature films in the direction space. He further adds, “Even though it’s an enormous challenge to convey stories in the short film format, it’s also a fantastic learning platform for individuals who want to enter filmmaking, especially since they have to learn everything from the ground up, such as screenplay and editing to cinematography and everything in between. The only difference between a short film and a feature film is the format in which it’s presented. A short film, in my opinion, must be a brilliant production loaded with substance, for it to be an interesting watch.”

In contrast to some aspiring filmmakers and producers who use short films as a means of self-critique, many newcomers pick short films as a business card or resume in order to attract clients and investors for larger projects. Creating a short film is a low-cost approach to learn the production process and gain valuable hands on experience, and it can be thought of as a pilot program. Short films have the potential to lead to larger projects with higher budgets and possibilities to work on feature films if they are popular.

“There are a variety of approaches to narrating a story. Today, thanks to technological breakthroughs and the advent of intelligent automation, stateof- the-art infrastructure such as professional video cameras are widely accessible to those who want to use short films to tell a narrative or to express a message,” believes Madan.

Mainstream actors going the short film way

The short film circuit has advanced a notch higher with the participation of a large number of brilliant mainstream actors. With the inclusion of feature film actors, short films have also proven to be a convenient way for budding filmmakers to demonstrate their skill and creativity in a precise manner, while also allowing them a greater freedom to experiment without having to worry about the consequences of their experiments on the box office.A recent survey states that the newly popular short films are the result of collaborations between established performers and filmmakers, coupled with the support of big businesses. These little moments of drama, tension, thrill orintrigue impress even the most jaded of viewers. Established actors and brilliant performers like Nasseruddin Shah, Manoj Bajpayee, Vidya Balan, Tisca Chopra, Radhika Apte, Konkona Sen Sharma and many more have all been sharing shorter yet effective screen space and have been encouraging the short film makers and thereby the genre.

A new lease of Life through streaming sites

Cinema, considered the most egalitarian form of art, employs the most appropriate language for the public and can be accessed practically anywhere via the World Wide Web. In recent years, the short film industry has grown faster than ever before. The creation and viewing of short films, as well as scouring the web for fresh content to add to the video banks of streaming services, appears to be the focus of everyone’s attention these days. A significant role in helping short films find an audience is played by short film festivals, just as festivals do in any other genre of cinema. Now that the short film has been accepted into a few film festivals, what is the next step? In the past, this would very certainly have signalled the end of the film’s public existence, especially if there were no marketing strategies. But now, short filmmakers have the opportunity to display their talent and promote their work via OTT (over the top) channels. Numerous new and microplatforms are being developed to assist emerging filmmakers in streaming their short films and web series. Many more possibilities are available today than there were a few years ago when increasing the awareness of your short film was limited to uploading it straight to a free viewing site like YouTube. From internet distribution platforms to film clubs, there are various platforms that will help the short film makers maximise the potential of their short films.

“The widespread misperception concerning short films is that they have no business. Short films have been mostly overlooked by the film business for years due to their inability to generate revenue from distribution, but it is significant to that the success of a short film’s publicity campaign is dependent on networking. And, in order to accomplish this, it must have an influence on the audience such that he or she is willing to discuss it further. It is a difficult task to turn your short film into a commercial product, but it’s also a fantastic learning opportunity at the same time. Personally, I believe it is an incredible and amazing effort since it lends legitimacy to short filmmakers and possibly inspires an increasing number of creative minds to come out and participate,” expresses Madan.

Short film festivals

Since film festivals are an integral component of the world’s cinematic landscape, they give aspiring filmmakers, in particular, the biggest stage to showcase their talents and abilities. Thanks to such massive platforms, where filmmakers are provided with an opportunity to showcase their work to a worldwide audience. “When it comes to getting people to see your project, just posting it on social media is not always enough and marketing becomes necessary. Such festivals provide a captive audience as well as an opportunity for others to view your work,” says Pawan Srivatsa, another short film maker. He added, “While every artist appreciates recognition, receiving an award at a film festival is especially satisfying since it serves as a reflection of your dedication and perseverance.”

Film festivals have the effect of strengthening and sustaining democracy and freedom by bringing together people from all walks of life and an abundance of networking chances are available at every film festival, which is always beneficial. “While film festivals enable filmmakers to connect with and expand their networks with other filmmakers, media agencies, directors and diverse fans, it is also an opportunity to learn from such a diverse group by interacting with some of the best minds of the industry,” expresses Pawan. He further states, “Such significant connections enable budding creative artists like us to thrive and evolve as effective film makers and result in a win-win situation and a plethora of chances.”

“While film festivals enable filmmakers to connect with and expand their networks with other filmmakers, media agencies, directors and diverse fans, it is also an opportunity to learn from such a diverse group by interacting with some of the best minds of the industry,” expresses Pawan. He further states, “Such significant connections enable budding creative artists like us to thrive and evolve as effective film makers and result in a win-win situation and a plethora of chances.”

Short Films that Created a Buzz

  • Chutney:With satire serving as the primary narrative technique, the short film Chutney directed by Jyothi Kapur Das gives us a glimpse into the supposedly moral world of the Indian Middle Class. Instead of having a tangy tale like the title, this short film has a very gloomy and threatening storyline that is extremely well done. The movie explores the dynamics of relationships in middle-class families and the dark truths that are kept buried while going about their daily lives in a casual manner. The plot revolves around two characters– the food and the relationship! The turn of events spin around these two along with lively characters of Tisca Chopra as a housewife and Rasika Duggal as a flirtatious neighbor grips the audience.
  • Chowkabara: Chowkabara, a Kannada short film starring some of the top stars in the Kannada cinema business, is centered on an anonymous phone call that has a tremendous effect on the lives of a middle-class family. The narrative shows how disregarding minute aspects in life may result in huge complications and can make life miserable. The short film, directed by Raghu Shivamogga, a theatre professional who graduated from the Ninasam Theatre Institute, not only reached a wider market but also garnered several accolades and critical praise.
  • Villain : Villain is a story about desertion, fading memories, stubbornness and family bonds, and it is based on the ubiquitous issue of grown-up children abandoning their parents, helmed by Bengalurubased photographer-cum-ad filmmaker Sarath Chandran R J. When a son who is devastated for being the cause of his mother’s illness returns home to see his parents after 41 years, the story of Villain unfolds. Both the father and the bedridden mother are not excited about his visit. Distressed by their son’s abandonment they choose to remain silent when they finally meet him. Albeit being a very common theme, the story concludes with a suspense which makes it a must watch.