The logic is simple. “Everyone wondered why Amitabh Bachchan went to the small screen when
Kaun Banega Crorepati
happened, but soon, it was proved how big a platform TV was,” reasons Pranav Ashar, an avid film watcher and founder of Enlighten Film Society.
The 23-year-old is currently creating about 48 original short films as exclusive content for what, according to him, is going to become the next biggest screen — the mobile phone.
“India has a very strong base of cellular phones and with the 3G market growing, the opportunities seem limitless,” says Ashar, who is currently in the process of roping in some A-listers from Bollywood for their respective mobile screen debuts. “I can’t reveal any names right now, but I assure you that actors are willing to contribute and experiment because they know how big 3G is going to get. We are also
getting indie and commercial filmmakers to direct some three-minute shorts for us.”
To put the scope of the new Internet technology into perspective, he says, “A short film out on BSNL got 5,000 downloads in six months. Imagine that.”
Shortest feature films
While the original content is being readied and requires constant funding, Ashar is working on a simultaneous idea to entertain. “It takes about Rs 5 lakh to make a five-minute film. That’s the maximum we can spend, more than that is not viable,” says Ashar, adding, “So I’m buying rights to foreign feature films and editing them into 10-minute movies that can be downloaded to watch on the go. Enlighten has already secured rights to about 1,000 films.” The collection will soon extend itself to commercial Hollywood and Bollywood films as well. “The idea is to give people the essence of the film. They can watch the best parts of films like
(1925) in 10 minutes,” adds Ashar.
Though the 48 shorts were supposed to be readied about six months ago, the 2G-spectrum scam slowed things down. “We had been approached by a couple of studios, we even signed the contract to make the films for them, but then, with the scam, it all slowed down,” says he. He is now looking to release the content within the next six months.