Bollywood is experimenting with new content, and short films enacted by mainstream actors seem to be the emerging new trend. “I want to be part of more short films because they are tougher to make, as you have to say a lot of things in a short time,” says actor Manoj Bajpayee, who starred in a six-minute film, Jai Hind, alongside Raveena Tandon, recently.
The film released on the internet and got over 1.6 lakh views. Sujoy Ghosh’s Ahalya, a 14-minute film starring Radhika Apte, although made in Bengali, got 5 lakh hits. Nimrit Kaur and Divyendu Sharma’s El’Ayichi, also created buzz.
And it is not just seasoned artists who have taken to doing short films, young actors like Ali Fazal and Tapsee Pannu have also joined the bandwagon.
Raveena Tandon and Manoj Bajpayee in Jai Hind.
“People access short films on the internet and it opens up a whole new avenue in terms of reaching out to the audience. They also help us add to our portfolio of work without harming our film commitments,” says Fazal, who is doing a short film with filmmaker Aditya Chopra’s production house.
Adds Apte, “More and more people want to see good content films on their laptops and phones. While feature films have their own space, the digital world is growing at a rapid pace.”
Nimrit Kaur and Divyendu Sharma in El’Ayichi.
Filmmakers say that short films are doing well because the content and starcast are strong.“The only thing I did with Ahalya is that I gave it the respect of a film. I had a great cast and we put in the same effort as a full-length film,” says Ghosh.
Radhika Apte in a still from Ahalya.
Experts feel that short films have a bright future, thanks to the growing reach of the internet. “Short films will do well because people can watch them at their own convenience. It’s a good option for filmmakers since they can monetise a short film well,” says trade analyst Omar Qureshi.