Known for infusing the patriotic fervour in videos like “Vande Mataram” and “Jana Gana Mana”, filmmaker Bharat Bala is now enthused about telling some “untold stories” about India to the world via a series of at least 100 short films.
The project is called India Film Collective, the Chennai-based filmmaker told IANS here on the sidelines of the MTV India Music Summit.
“It’s kind of a legacy project. It’s an idea about covering untold stories of India as short films and narratives. These are short stories about people, music, traditions, rituals of the country, not like a documentary but in a way of telling a story.
“These engaging and well-crafted films are all under 10 minutes. The way they are produced, the music they have and the editing, I;m sure they will make for inspiring films which will be thrilling to watch,” Bala said.
He plans to go all out to give these films a digital release.
“I have already finished 47 films. Once we finish 100, then the whole platform will start getting launched,” the filmmaker said, adding that while he and his company are doing the research for the stories, they are engaging young talents like cinematographers and editors.
“They can bring something new so that young people can inspire youngsters.”
At the Summit, he gave a sneak peek into one story as part of the India Film Collective. It was called “Talam” — meaning rhythm — a musical film about boat racing.
Bala, who had also directed the music video of “Jiyo Utho Bado Jeeto”, the official song of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, also said that there was no government tie-up for the India-based shorts.
“It is by the people, for the people.”
Considering his projects have largely been India-inspired, what is his view of the changing political and social landscape in the country’
“I don’t care… The people haven’t changed. When you go to the interiors of the country, the people haven’t change. If you touch the people at an emotional level, they don’t change.
“If you touch the people at an economic level, they will react. But if you go and appeal to their heart, you see nothing has changed. The ‘sanskriti’ will remain.”
On the feature film front, Bala had started his journey with Dhanush-starrer Tamil movie “Maryan” back in 2013. He was to direct another film “The 19th Step”, which was shelved.
But now he wants to revive it.
“Now I am kicked about reviving it. I may make an announcement in two months’ time,” said the filmmaker, who was to work with Kamal Haasan in the movie.
Happy with the proliferation of cinema that appeals pan-India, Bala said it was a great time where credit needs to be given to the people who are absorbing good content irrespective of language or star value.
“If you have a good story, it doesn’t matter which language it is in, people will take it. Look back… How did ‘Roja’ come… Nobody knew Rahman (A.R. Rahman) that time. It had melody. It touched.
“If there’s honesty, beauty in the creation, it will conquer. You can’t be thinking that you’ll make something big purely with advertising. Marketing is essential, but fundamentally, the content must be there.”
(The writer’s trip is at the invitation of the MTV India Music Summit organisers. Radhika Bhirani can be contacted at email@example.com)
By Radhika Bhirani