Eashwar Mime Co., a film by renowned theatre director Shyamanand Jalan (who passed away this year on 24 May), is a rare amalgamation of theatre and film. The whole project is what the makers love to call a ‘visual design’. The movements are stylised, taking inspiration from the great dancing tradition of India. Even the faces of the characters are painted in various colours, which is something seen in theatre.
“Almost everybody in the film has a theatre background. We have given a theatre treatment to the film from acting to direction and production,” says actor Ashish Vidyarthi, who plays the protagonist. One curious thing about this film is that it went on the floor in 1997 but is only releasing now. Before the first shoot started, there was a workshop held with the entire crew. Pawan Malhotra, an actor, describing his experience in the film: “In Bombay, I’m used to getting a script on the day of shooting and we just mug up the dialogues. But for this project, we had a workshop to evolve the style and set the tone for the film, which borrows a lot from the techniques of performing arts.”
Eashwar Mime Co. was Jalan’s first feature film, for which noted playwright Vijay Tendulkar wrote the script, and Suman Chattopadhyay wrote the background scores. Govindan Kutty taught mime players the fine points of synchronised movement and Rameshwar Broota painted on live canvas, transforming the faces of mime artistes.
The film is based on Mukhabhinaya, a short story by Bengali novelist Dibyendu Palit, and will be screened today at Stein auditorium, India Habitat Centre at 7 pm.