The lockdown has been a curse, but it has also served to create new opportunities, and prodded people to explore new avenues. And that’s how the India Cinema Chapter of the All Ladies League (ALL) came up with the idea of having some of its members— who had only consumed cinema all their lives—create a short film, and across 13 languages no less.
Beena Unnikrishnan, the ALL India Cinema Chapter chairperson, was astonished to note the interest among sections of the one lakh-plus members of the organisation. “I was overwhelmed to see them show as much excitement. We finalised two scripts, conducted virtual auditions among our members, and had the films shot with the assistance of their family members,” says Beena.
The short films— Home is Where the Heart is and Antraal—have been published on her channel, but the bigger plan is to open an official YouTube channel on behalf of ALL’s cinema wing, and continue to encourage this creative side of their members. “ More than catering to an audience, this idea of having its members do a short film is to provide an avenue for their abundant creativity, according to Beena.
“Our group has all varieties of women—lawyers, social workers, school heads…” she says, “To see them evince excitement about acting gave us all so much joy. It was satisfying to be able to put it all together.” In both these shorts that are about 10 minutes long, the majority of the contributors are women.
“However, we, as an organisation, believe in the strength of unity and the power of men too,” clarifies Beena. “Quite a few men also joined in to help us achieve this vision.” In the long run, Beena hopes that such initiatives will help provide more exposure to the latent talents of their members. “I hope that these endeavours will maybe result in them actually getting into cinema,” she says.