Time to UNMUTE

By Prachi Srivastava , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | February 12, 2014
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Handloom Picture Company's Ram Subramanian has released a short film portraying a common man's anger over the poor condition of the country, with a twist!

Mute ad film

Ram Subramanian

Being widely appreciated by viewers, the 2-minute 53 second film takes one to the zone where one is forced to think where the country is headed. The single shot film portrays an apparently mute man who expresses his anger over the condition of the country. He talks about how there are disturbing stories in the newspaper that end up spoiling someone's morning.

Written and directed by Subramanian, founder of Handloom Picture Company, the film is gaining a lot of traction from Handloom Picture Company's Facebook page.

When asked what triggered him to make this short film, Subramanian tells afaqs! that the Delhi gang rape incident in 2012 actually motivated him to create this. "When the incident happened I was in Spain. But when I returned to India, there was a protest march in Colaba (Mumbai) for which I went. I was surprised by the turnout of people in the protest. There were around 20,000 people who were raising their voices for better safety for women, for change."

"There are many things we don't talk about. Through films too, we mostly skim through surfaces, entertain people. With 'Mute', I wanted to get into the psyche of people, get into their minds. Even post the rape incident, whenever I used to see bribing incidents, it irked me. With this film, I didn't want to be political but wanted to use negatives to bring out a positive message," he adds.

Subramanian wanted to create a film without a single cut to retain the joy of performance. The casting team went across the country to hunt for a face powerful enough to express the idea, fiery eyes that reflected the "correct expression" of anger, to sum it up - an actor powerful enough to hold the frame for long enough since there are no dialogues or background music. Excellent acting skills plus great expressions was what they were looking for. And yes, the hunt did stop when they met Sumeet Thakur, who belongs to Kolkata.

For the film, Thakur had to learn sign language from trained experts for almost a month. Subramanian had also got an American consultant to teach Thakur sign language, along with an Indian sign language expert. While the film was being shot, the challenge for the ad film maker was the speed. "I wanted to direct viewers' eyes from subtitles to the actor's actions. So, I had to time it that way and lot of training went behind where Sumeet had to pause, move, and say the next point."

The aim is to make the audience feel in a certain way, raise the temperature in a way that they could feel exactly what the person in the film felt. Towards the end, there is a frame (2:48) that has messages in a frame. "I had more to say even after the film ended, hence the piece of poster is there. If anyone wants to re-art direct the poster, he/she can contact me. The idea is to spread the word. Both personally and professionally, this ad film has been very fulfilling as I did something I believed in. And as they say 'If you send out goodness from yourself, it will all come back to you multiplied ten thousand times'."

The short film is also running on CNN-IBN as Subramanian is hopeful that other channels will soon take a notice of it too and volunteer to spread the word.

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