Short films dream big

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Oscar-winning short film director Shawn Christensen recently announced that he would expand his short film Curfew into a feature film. While converting short films into full-fledged films has been prevalent in Hollywood for quite sometime, Indian short filmmakers are now taking a cue from their western counterparts and testing the waters.
Many short filmmakers are planning to expand their short films into feature films. Himanshu Malik’s Quod Erat Demonstradum (QED), Zanane Rajsingh’s Hastkala, Yousuf Saeed’s Amir Khusro, Ravi S. Alok’s film based on a salesman Khuli Khidki will soon come alive on the big screen.
Zanane Rajsingh’s Hastakala recently received the best script award at the third Baba Saheb Phalke Film Festival. After making four short films, Zanane was pleasantly surprised at the response and decided to extend the story into a feature film script. “We did not expect this kind of reaction to our film. Winning the award was very encouraging and our film was critically acclaimed at many international film festivals. The response encouraged us so much that we decided to make a feature film out of it,” says Zanane, who always wanted to make feature films but didn’t think he’d get a chance so soon.
Himashu Malik, who made his foray into filmmaking with QED, a tale told in a kitschy, quirky comic book manner, says he choose the short film medium since it has more scope for experiments. “Short films are more creative and one can freely use their imagination to the fullest since there is no pressure of commercial success or recovering a huge budget. As the film was processing I realised that I wanted to expand the beautiful story of QED into an approximately two hour-long feature film. And at present I am working on the script and expect it to go on floors by the end of this year,” says Himanshu.
He plans to make the film with the same lead cast since there is a comfort level with them and they understand the story as well.
Ravi will also be taking Khuli Khidki’s story forward and has announced that the short film will be 15 per cent of the feature film.
Pannaiyarum Padminiyum, directed by Arun Kumar and Kuttimaa by Ganesh Kumar Mohan, will also be extended into feature films.
Though the biggest challenge is arranging the finances or Amir Khusro, Yousuf Saeed feels he has more to tell and is now planning to extend his film into a feature film. “Sometimes an idea is so intriguing that directors cannot really do justice to it by making a short film. The amount of work done to make a short film is same as making a full-fledged feature film. But the biggest challenge is raising the finance since there is a huge difference in budgets,” he says.
“Our 16-minute-long short film was made within the budget of `35,000. Now we are expecting the budget to exceed `50 lakh. But since our film was much acclaimed, we managed to arrange the finances,” says Zanane who is planning to make a 110 minute long film.
Many believe converting short films into full-fledged feature films opens the door for filmmakers to get noticed and enter the Hindi film industry. There are more pros than cons, says short film director Madhureeta Anand who entered the genre of feature filmmaking with Mere Khwabon Mein Jo Aaye.
“Making a short film gives one confidence to enter the bigger platform of feature filmmaking. Once a short film is made on the subject, the director doesn’t really need much convincing. Even Anurag Kashyap converted Sachin Kundalkar’s short film into Aiyyaa,” adds Madhureeta.

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