‘Kriti’ and the creation of internet films
Online films are on a rise. The most recent one sees filmmaker Shirish Kunder venture into the space with his debut short film Kriti. The 18-minute psychological thriller is produced by Muvizz.com, a video on demand platform that aims to offer quality content to its viewers. The cast of the Kriti includes Manoj Bajpayee, Radhika Apte, Neha Sharma and Manu Rishi. At the launch of the film, we caught up with director Shirish, producer Piiyush Singh and Manoj Bajpayee to learn more about the film and the viability of the Internet content as whole.
Shirish Kunder – Director
How did the idea of making this film come to you?
I have done romance and comedy before. The idea here was to try a new genre.Thriller attracts me a lot and I wanted to do something new with it. I had earlier planned a feature length psychological thriller. Then we thought of making a short for the Internet as this is a medium where you can express freely.
When you wrote the film did you have any particular cast in your mind?
All I knew was that it is going to be an actor-oriented film. The project started with Manoj (Bajpayee) and for other actors I spoke with Mukesh (Chhabra, Casting Director). He took things forward on the casting front.
The film’s treatment is quite different from your earlier works. Please talk about it.
For me the film’s art direction is very different and novel. The way mannequins and paintings are placed in the space is something that I have never done before. This whole film is about the mental space. As far as possible, I try not to repeat myself with every successive work. I made Jaaneman like a broadway musical. Many people from the industry later copied that style.
You also did the music for Kriti. What was the thought behind it?
I have always written, directed, edited and given music in my own films. This is something that I am following right from my first film. I will keep doing this till I die. That is my format.
Is it a prologue to a feature film that you are planning in the same genre?
Yes, that’s the idea. Log mujhe aake bolte the ki aap toh romance karte raho, pehla waala accha tha (People would come to me and tell me to continue making romance as the last one was good). I wanted to show my potential in making a thriller. So, I thought I might as well make one. This film is a reply to all those people.
Piiyush Singh – Co-Founder, Muvizz.com
How did you learn about Kriti and decide to back it?
Manoj (Bajpayee) mentioned to me that Shirish (Kunder) has a great script. When Manoj endorses a particular script you know it has to be something really path-breaking. So we met Shirish. And after the first narration itself, I took a call that we were doing the film. It’s a great script which may not be a feature but it fits correctly in a short film space. Muvizz.com stands for great content. We want to be instrumental in making great stories reach larger audiences. So, we grabbed the opportunity.
What kind of content does Muvizz.com as a platform look for?
We look for world cinema, both documentaries and fiction. For us language is not an issue. We try to tap films which are critically acclaimed but did not reach a wider audience. So, for us the deal is simple, we look for any film which is content-driven and has a great storyline.
Do you have a team that evaluates this?
Yes we have a full-fledged team of people from different backgrounds. There are producers, film lovers, theatre practitioners and then there is Manoj himself. So, together we all curate stuff and then back it.
How do you plan to market Kriti?
I think the best part about the Internet is that if your content works then you leave it to the audience to market it. The content travels itself. Here also, we know that we have made good stuff and we leave it to the audience to market it.
Manoj Bajpayee – Actor
What inspired you to work in this film?
I am greedy when it comes to acting. I keep looking for work. (Laughs) Aajkal main bohot khaali hoon (These days I am very free). Actors, in general are very free (laughs). So in this void, Kriti just happened. We were having lunch together and Shirish told me about this story that was from a girl’s point of view. I quite liked it and agreed upon doing it.
How did you characterize for this role?
(Pats on the shoulder and smiles) This is a very personal process for any actor. All I can say is that playing a mentally disturbed person was challenging. It needs lots of preparation. It was difficult to crack how this character thinks.
You have co-produced this project. Are you going to produce more content in future?
These are small projects and are hassle free. I am learning from these baby steps. It is my training ground. As far as producing goes, I am only looking at projects that aren’t too demanding.
Tell us your views about online as a medium
Online is the future. Even if you look at the West, only films like Avengers are viewed in cinema halls. Most of the films nominated for Oscar are also from the online medium. When they are awarded an Oscar or Golden Globe, then they get a release. The online market is also very democratic. People subscribe and pay for the content. This is a breather as it will come as a saving grace against this number game that is plaguing our industry.