With an aim to expand the reach of theatre, entrepreneur and actor Subodh Maskara launched the initiative, CinePlay, last year with Mahesh Dattani's Dance Like A Man.
Subodh Maskara, CEO and founder, CinePlay, with wife and co-founder Nandita Das
Blending filmmaking technique within the theatre format, the film version of the play was showcased on screen to appeal to a larger audience. Now, having converted seven plays into this genre, hosting over 50 shows at different universities and clubs, the team will celebrate its first anniversary with a festival in Mumbai, CinePlay Festival '15 Act I.
Hosted at Lower Parel's arthouse centre, Matterden CFC, the month-long affair will showcase different cineplays every weekend. Veteran theatre artiste Mohan Agashe will be honoured with CinePlay Icon of The Year award at the inaugural event this Friday. Pranav Ashar, founder and director, Matterden, says, "Since Matterden is a home for creative content, screening cineplays is an organic extension. The quality and the finesse brought in by the CinePlay artistes is of great scale and of immense archival value."
Ira Dubey, Lillete Dubey and Mohan Agashe in the cineplay, Adhe Adhure
The fest will include seven cineplays, of which, two — Some Times and Hasmukh Saab Ki Wasihat — are premieres. While many believe that a cineplay involves recording a live act on stage, the play is actually shot separately for the camera, which is a two-three month process. Maskara informs, "Reinterpreting the story for the camera, cineplays are shot more intimately, where an actor's gestures, expressions and other details are accurately captured. We also enhance the production value by changing the lighting and adding more costumes, props, background score, etc."
According to Maskara, the festival will be a litmus test to judge whether mainstream audiences have accepted this concept. "Live performance has inherent geographical, language and economic barriers and reaches to a fixed audience, while the idea of a cineplay is to exponentially grow its reach. For instance, you can use subtitles in a cineplay to make it more accessible or market a play using its film version in different cities.
In that sense, cineplay is a friend of theatre," he believes, adding that the team is in the process of converting five to six more plays into this format. They also have confirmed a national deal with Inox cinemas to release cineplays theatrically.
From February 27 to March 22
At Matterden CFC, Deepak Cinema, Lower Parel.
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> Between The Lines
> The Job
> Bombay Talkies
> Dance Like A Man
> Adhe Adhure
> Hasmukh Saab Ki Wasihat
> Some Times