Internet gives you a lot of creative satisfaction – Saurabh Varma
Having worked in the film and advertising industry in various capacities from marketing to production to even distribution and brand building, Saurabh Varma is adept at his art. From directing feature films like Mickey Virus, Solid Patels and 7 Hours to Go, Verma has also been actively involved in content acquisition and online development. The experience has made him confident about the reach of the digital world and how it is completely reforming the way that entertainment is consumed in this country.
It is this thought that led to the making of his latest film, a psychological thriller titled Girl In Red for the web. Pandolin chatted with the director about his short that went online on December 13 and what sets it apart from the other shorts being made in present times.
What is the premised of your short film Girl In Red ?
It’s about a writer who is suffering from writer’s block and is looking for a story. He meets a unique garbage man who seems to know everybody’s secrets. The funny thing is that the garbage you throw tells a lot about you. The writer meets this guy and what happens next is the story. Slowly, one realizes that both their lives are pretty connected to each other.
Who is this girl in the title? Or am I asking you the suspense?
This girl is somebody who had ditched the writer. These two men start talking about various incidences and realize that they both know the girl. What follows is the suspense.
How did this idea come to you? How long did it take you to find a producer who believed in the idea?
The idea came to me when I found the producers (Pocket Films) as they wanted to make something. Internet isn’t a space where you get amazing returns on investment. So you do it for a certain platform and I found them who wanted to do something for their platform. And that’s how the whole story came.
Currently, we are in a very nascent stage of online content and there is a lot of variation in what everybody wants. Some people are trying to make 40-minute-long content while some just want to make a 5-minute story. So we are in a stage where everything is evolving. I just wanted to give it a shot and see what happens.
Short films are now changing as earlier they were just a platform for someone to show his directorial skills
Why did you choose the Internet to present this story?
Internet is going to be huge. The moment that the phone will get connected to the television, the reach is going to be ten times more than what it is now. And I guess, everybody in the industry understands the potential and depth. Plus, it gives you a lot of creative satisfaction because people are not judging you. So you have the liberty to tell what you want to. In films, we are restricted by the marketing, distribution, budget, etc. Thus the Internet is a very interesting space to work in. But it’s also challenging because the budgets are very less. And the time to tell the story is also very less.
What is the most challenging and also exciting aspect about making a film in the short format?
You have very little time to establish characters. And you can’t obviously make a film without establishing characters. That I think is the biggest challenge. And again the money. Money is less and so is the shooting time. But I think that’s also something that you enjoy and find exciting.
The funny thing is that the garbage you throw tells a lot about you
And what sets this film apart from the other shorts being made?
Today, thriller as a genre works all over the world. In India we are trying more of comedy and drama. So, thriller is different than usual. Plus short films are now changing as earlier they were just a platform for someone to show his directorial skills. Now established directors are also venturing into making shorts. So I think good content is key and that sets it apart from all other things.
Tell us about the casting process for the film.
I had Nandish (Singh) in mind when I had written the story for the writer’s character. We auditioned for the rest of the cast. And we got the right people to do the job. Online is a platform where the characters speak for themselves, so it was important to cast the right people and get characters who are similar to what is written.
How different is writing a short compared to feature films?
In a short film, the most important thing that you have to do is think of a beginning and an end. And then it’s not easy. It’s similar to writing a feature but here the editing and everything else takes a lot of time.
How long did it take you to complete this film?
Can you talk about your upcoming projects?
Right now I have not thought about anything other than Girl In Red. The trailer has received a very good response and I am getting more offers to make digital content.
So you are open to making more digital films?
I am open to do anything as long as it is creatively satisfying.
Watch Girl in Red here –