HYDERABAD: In a hot, cramped room a 24-year-old man, despondence writ large on his face, stands still with his aviator framed spectacles covering half of his face. Indicating a mix of the bygones with the modern, the writer protagonist, reflects on his recent run of dry imagination as he struggles with his innermost demons. A number of blank papers fan out over his motionless posture blurring his from reality called life. And just as suddenly, a man calls out from behind, “Good shot. Cut!”
Arun Ghosh, the director, and his team of short-film makers for corporate clients give each other a wide grin, while the bespectacled man finally relaxes, smiles and turns his head to the side as the glaring neon lights fade off, the fans are switched on and the group prepares to pack up. The final shot for their rush hour movie has been finished. Rush hour, because now in a space of 24 hours, they will have to go through the entire process of editing, stitching and dubbing to give the random scenes a visual appeal of its own in the form of a movie.
Challenges of 48 HFP
The film, titled 'Writer's Block', is themed on fantasy genre and produced by a motley bunch of 20-year-olds who are passionate about filmmaking. Their stage is the internationally renowned 48 Hour Film Project (48HFP), gracing Hyderabad for the first time. Sixty teams such as theirs have used both the weekend and the event as an apt platform to learn new rules in order to finish their movie in time.
“We decided to play it safe by sticking to familiar locations and straightforward scripts rather than try experimenting with excessive technicality,” explained Rupak, the one-man bespectacled actor of Writer's Block. The group also chose English over Telugu simply because it would save them time from creating English subtitles, as would be mandatory otherwise.
And while the above group revolved their shot around one room, others turned to familiar neighbourhoods and film studios. Said Ujwal, team leader of the group 'King Makers' who chose Annapoorna Studios. “We chose the Annapoorna and its neighbourhood to take advantage of multiple locations and save time, since seeking permissions for public shooting is not a luxury we can afford in this form of the competition.”
His team of eight were provided the genre of comedy and they decided to make 48HFP itself the theme, literally mocking the behind-the-scenes antics of the participants involved. “The idea hit us when one of the jury members said that more than individual excellence, the 48HFP is about group show. So we thought why not make a situational mockery of backstage commotion that takes place when a group shoots a movie in 48 hours,” said Ujwal.
But not all teams could coordinate well among themselves. “For such a format, one needs professionals. We learned that today. Having amateurs in our group has slowed us down. So we can't exactly say the experience went off as well as expected,” said a disappointed Akhil, of the group 'Killi D Katt'. Another team, called '3 Friends', decided to call off shooting altogether. “We just got busy with our job and couldn't find time. So we dropped the idea this morning,” said team member Shiva Kumar.