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Interview Hindi

Technology has brought film closer to a paintbrush or pen: Vivaan Shah on short film The Re-Bell

Artistes Shruti Bhardwaj and Vivaan Shah talk about the crucial issues that The Re-Bell dwells upon and the increasing popularity of the short film format.

Sukhpreet Kahlon

Riju Bajaj's short film The Re-Bell, written by Supriya Parulekar, is the story of Muskaan, a girl struggling with her inability to deal with the pressures of the world around her.

The film is an exploration of the stressors that young people cope with every day as it takes a look at the mind of a person contemplating suicide.

The film stars Vivaan Shah and Jenifer John and marks the debut of Shruti Bhardwaj, who plays the protagonist.

The film has been shot, directed and produced by Bajaj, who came across the story when the script was submitted as part of the LIFFT India Filmotsav – World Cine Fest, which he runs in Lonavala near Mumbai.

In an exclusive conversation with Cinestaan.com, Shruti Bhardwaj and Vivaan Shah spoke about the crucial issues that The Re-Bell dwells upon as well as the increasing popularity of the short film format.

Talking about how her role came to be, Bhardwaj said that when she read the script, she thought Bajaj wanted her to be the assistant director on the project and was taken aback when he asked her to play the role of Muskaan. 

“I had my doubts about playing the character, but Riju was very encouraging and asked me to take my time, take it slow, develop my back story, and gave me the confidence to do the role. He made it very easy for me as he gave me liberty as an actor,” she said. 

Shah was also all praise for Bajaj, saying, “Riju was a one-man crew. He is such an inspiration to aspiring filmmakers as the film is a testament to what is possible with digital technology. The film has become closer to a pen or a paintbrush through technology.”

The artistes spoke about the issues taken up in the film. “We need people who make us understand the value of life,” Bhardwaj said, pointing out that Shah’s character is that person for Muskaan in the film. “He is talking to her, engaging her, but, basically, biding time and helping her out even though he is not physically present with her.”

She also stressed the need for society to realize that there are several people suffering from depression and in need of help. Addressing the issue of depression and suicide in particular, which forms the central theme of the film, Vivaan Shah said, “We are living in an age with all sorts of existential malaise. In the film, Muskaan is dealing with heartbreak, sexuality and a wide range of turmoil. It’s about what a young girl is going through and how someone can lend a helping hand.”

Talking about the increasing popularity of the short film format, Vivaan Shah, son of the veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah, said that while he had worked on both features as well as shorts, The Re-Bell deals with a subject that is difficult for a feature film to discuss.

Seeing the current scenario for short films as heralding “a renaissance of short films”, he described the moment as a crucial juncture where short films are standing on their own merit.

He pointed out that the increased production of short films has largely been fuelled by access to digital technology, wherein the tools of filmmaking have become accessible today.

He concluded by saying, “Let’s hope that short films continue to push the envelope in terms of their content.”

The second edition of the LIFFT India Filmotsav – World Cine Fest will be held on 6 December 2018 at the Fariyas resort in Lonavala.

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