‘Basic’ally, let’s tackle the real issues

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | NAMITA GUPTA
Published Apr 2, 2016, 12:00 am IST
Updated Apr 2, 2016, 12:27 am IST
Free Basics, is a short-film that features local actors and focusses on the real basics in India.
Shraddha Das
 Shraddha Das

When south-Indian theatre actors like KP Nishan (who has done lead roles in Malayalam and Kannada award winning films), Shraddha Das (who has acted in Kannada, Tamil Telegu, Malayalam and Hindi films), Jayahsree Venkatramanan and many others bring to the fore the topic of sudden, unplanned and haphazard growth, urbanisation and development, you know it’s going to be worth a watch.

Director Amitabh Aurora has put together a brilliant production, Free Basics, on its effects on a mutli-cultural nation like India. “We wanted to present a futuristic India where everyone has Free Basics (Facebook) but not other real free basics,” states Amitabh.

 

Actor Shraddha Das who was seen in Kannada films Hosa Prema Purana and Ouija recently states, “In the free basics debate a lot of people were concerned about one company being an Internet gatekeeper and having monopoly over content, so when I first read Amitabh’s script, it made me think there is more to this debate and we need to tackle the problems of the real basics like, food, water, electricity, roads, employment and education. I also liked the story as it is very funny.”

Bengaluru being the country’s IT hub needs some introspection for an issue like digital equality and Free Facebook for all. “It’s a dark comedy set in a dystopian world. Although many short films are made, I can proudly state that this one is rare as it is thought provoking, yet entertaining. We have received acclaim for the writing and screenplay from our audience so far.

There were a few challenges like budget constraints, but soon everyone volunteered for the cause of good cinema and the social message behind it. We needed a village location, villagers, good equipments and technology but had no money. Making a short film in an apartment with two actors is easy, but shooting a short film in many rural locations, ensemble cast and proper grip and equipment like ours was a big task. However, our success came out in the form of appreciation by everyone and the free basics decision ruling in favour of us by TRAI,” states Amitabh.

Besides being a pro behind the lens, Amitabh is also an adventure sports junkie. “It’s the social message which stands apart. We have been shortlisted in many film festivals in many developing countries as this free basics issue is relevant to all developing countries where digital equality is penetrating in an unplanned and monopolised way,” he adds.

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