Saturday, June 20, 2015

Close-ups and Long Range Shots

The Cineplay, 'Between The Lines', was shown for the first time at Kochi with a screening at the Southern Naval Command. The audience had an enjoyable experience

By Shevlin Sebastian

Hi, my name is Shekhar Anand and I am a criminal lawyer. You must have heard about the Reddys and the forest scam. Yes I nailed them...And I have a lovely wife Maya. We met in law school.

Maya: I remember the first time we met it was at a debating competition. The topic was, 'What works? Love or arranged marriage?' And both of us were put in the arranged marriage team.

Shekhar: And we won.

Maya: Yes, but only to fall in love the very next week.

Shekhar: But I have to confess. For me, it was during the debate itself.

Maya: And this he told me on the day of the marriage.

Shekhar: And it has been ten wonderful years since.”

These are the beginning dialogues of the gripping Cine Play, 'Between The Lines', which stars Subodh Maskara and his wife Nandita Das. The story is of Shekhar, an ace criminal lawyer, who ends up taking up the case of a man, Mukesh, whose wife, Kavita shoots at him, but he survives. However, in a twist, Maya, who is tackling her first case, after a long hiatus, is fighting on behalf of Kavita. And the tensions in the courtroom inevitably spills over to the home front.

Incidentally, a cineplay is a film made of a play. 'Between The Lines' was shot in five days at a studio in Mumbai. There were close-ups, long-range shots, and multiple takes, just like in a film.And it was shown for the first time in Kochi, before a packed audience, at the Southern Naval Command. And the response was unanimous: it was a good experience.

I have watched a lot of plays in Mumbai,” says Captain Sanjay Panda. “However, this is the first first time that I am seeing a Cineplay. It was absorbing and gripping. Both Nandita Das and Subodh Maskara were outstanding.The analogy: the difference between reading a physical book and on a Kindle reader. Undoubtedly, a live play is much better. But when you consider that we are in Kochi, and not many theatre groups will come here to perform, this is a good alternative. ”

Another viewer who agreed was teacher Naazli Shah. “Yet, it was a mesmerising experience,” she says. “However, if given an option, I would opt for an actual play. That is because I have seen a lot of plays in places like Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi. And there is nothing to match a live experience.”

But a CinePlay, Naazli says, is the best way to attract young people. “Many have a feeling that watching plays, rather than films, is a boring way to pass the time,” she says.

But Naazli has the opposite attitude. “A play, when compared to a movie, is a far more enriching experience,” she says. “We spend a lot of money on seeing films, but there is not much of an emotional connect. On the other hand, a theatre experience is magical. You feel connected to the actors, especially if they put up a good performance.”

As for Captain Sanjay, watching a play or a CinePlay is a stress buster. “After a long day at work, this is a nice way to relax,” he says. “Also, you develop empathy for people. Overall, play-watching helps in character development.”

Meanwhile, Anurag Khanna, who is handling the marketing of Cineplays, is ecstatic. “We have got a stupendous response from all over India,” he says. “Cineplays have been shown in clubs, theatres, colleges and cultural centres. Right now, there are 50 distributors who are regularly screening our Cineplays. By the end of the year, the CinePlay would have been shown in 100 cities across India. It is an idea whose time has come.”

(Published in The New Indian Express, Kochi)

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