Amitabha Singh takes a ‘futuristic’ approach with SHORTCUT SAFAARI
Amitabha Singh’s debut directorial venture SHORTCUT SAFAARI, whose release is around the corner, attempts to reconnect us with the natural world through the eyes of seven children. But it’s not preachy or just highlights the fundamental concept of striking a balance between human species and ecology. Amitabha states that SS rather works as a tool of ‘awakening’.
“Besides bridging the gap between human species and ecology, which is one very fundamental concept, SHORTCUT SAFAARI is a tool of awakening, something that make people take notice of or think about the fast retreating natural world. And we are specially addressing the younger children, who are now being completely born and raised in a manufactured environment. Having said that, we are not trying to offer any solution here,” says the filmmaker.
With SHORTCUT SAFAARI, Amitabha consolidates his position in the children’s film category. He has earlier helmed the camera for CHILLAR PARTY, KHOSLA KA GHOSLA and India’s Oscar entry in 2014- THE GOOD ROAD.
Ask Amitabha’s inclination towards children as ‘TA’ and he says, “There are confluences of three very personal and important beliefs. First and foremost I always believe that cinema is medium of future and I would like to tell stories that make future. So as concept pillar no 1 it was very clear that SHORTCUT SAFAARI is a film of very near future. Through SHORTCUT and through the kind of films I would like to make I would definitely speak about future and how can we shape it. The other concept correlated to it is children, because they are the future. So there is no better match between trying to talk to people who will get ready to speak five years hence and the third fundamental is to do with the content that can shape thoughts and beliefs, perceptions and possibly translate into actions of us as humans in the way they would lead a way of life. It’s a film which is heavy on concepts. Thereby I need to engage minds, who are at the right curves of their growth, who are not only ready to absorb & accept it but they are also in a stage whereby they can embrace the concepts and make them as a part of their routine lives or could possibly grow into practicing those concepts. So that is where selecting kids is apt. But an adult mind becomes by and large structured after a point.”
Singh adds, “I don’t think we can singularly isolate learning or singularly compartmentalize education. To me learning and education growth of mind, body and spirit is not very compartmentalized. Various types of education and learning have to be there. In India, we always had this strong tradition of learning through stories, especially Panchatantra kind of stories which possibly were never taught in a school. According to me, no real learning actually happens in schools. So, one reason to make a film like this is to take kids out of the school environment because true learning happens only when the children are playing, entertaining themselves. The true learning doesn’t happen in the structured environment. With due respect to all these institutions, what they are doing is they are imparting a lot of information, facts, figures and data, that’s just the surface, that’s just the learning. But actual learning should run far deeper than many of these institutions. The true learning that a child can get is when it happens through these stories. So, the idea was to engage in story format and breaking down academic notions that our concepts are liable to attract.”
Jimmy Sheirgill starrer SHORTCUT SAFAARI is all set to release on 29th April. The jungle adventure film with children traces the lives of seven school going kids who get stuck in a dense forest during their outing. Directed by Amitabha Singh, SHORTCUT SAFAARI has been screened at select film festivals and applauded a lot for the children’s performances. SHORTCUT SAFAARI features Jimmy Sheirgill, Aashi Rawal, Sharvil Patel, Mann Patel, Ugam Khetani, Stuti Dwivedi, Deah Tandon and Hardil Kanabar. Jointly produced by Xebec Films Pvt. Ltd, Kashyap A Shah & Amigos Fin-o-tainment, Shortcut Safaari aims to deliver a very effective message to conserve Mother Nature.