The sound of silence

Updated: Nov 13, 2016, 12:37 IST | Jane Borges

Set in Goa, actor Vipin Sharma's debut film relies heavily on the music of the rains

Baarish traces the story of three people, who happen to cross paths at some point in time
Baarish traces the story of three people, who happen to cross paths at some point in time

A few months ago, during the monsoons, when actor Vipin Sharma was shooting inside Barreto Villa Patrons, a 19th century heritage property in Goa, he was approached by its owner, who was rather amused with the way the film's scenes were unfolding.

"No dialogues," the man asked Sharma. The actor, who at the time, wasn't still sure of what shape his experimental project was taking, said, "It looks like." "Oh! Then you're in the right place," the man informed.

Back in Mumbai, after spending nearly two months shooting in the rain-soaked region, Sharma tells us that the owner had told him that this was the very same bungalow, where the first silent film had been screened in Goa, eons ago.

"I was extremely fascinated when I heard that," he says. And, Sharma had reasons to feel so. The actor, best known for his role as the overbearing and demanding father to Ishaan (Darsheel Safary) in the 2007 film Taare Zameen Par, is gearing up for the release of his first feature film, Baarish. What makes it different is that it's a silent movie, heavily relying on the sound of one very strong element — the rain.

Vipin Sharma
Vipin Sharma

The movie, which was written, shot and edited by Sharma, an alumnus of National School of Drama and the Canadian Film Centre, is set amid the backdrop of Goa in the monsoons, and traces the story of three people, who happen to cross paths at some point in time.

"I have been toying with the idea of doing something in Goa for many years now. I love that place, more because it lets you be and also because its landscape is so beautiful," says the 50-year-old. "But, I didn't want to portray Goa as an exotic location. I wanted to capture something that is authentically Goan."

The rains became that wheel to take his story forward. "During the rains, Goa is a very different place. It's the off-season from the tourism point of view. The beaches are deserted and nearby shacks are generally shut. I loved the whole haunted imagery of an otherwise happening place, and that stayed in my mind," he says.

And, that's how Sharma went on to work on Baarish, an Indo-Australian-Canadian production, which was initially intended to be a short film, but has now stretched to over 80 minutes. Rains give voice to his stories, instead of dialogues.

"Rain has an element of romanticism and lyricism to it. And, cinema is a very visual medium. I really wanted to go back to the basics, so, I thought let rain and the landscape be the sound of this film," says Sharma, who has also trained as a professional editor in Canada, where he studied filmmaking for over three years. "I didn't use lights, tripod, or clap, while making the film. The idea was to keep it raw," he adds.

Before he made a comeback with Taare Zameen Par, Sharma, who had assisted several filmmakers including Shyam Benegal and Ketan Mehta in the 80s, took a long sabbatical from cinema. "For some reason mainstream cinema disillusioned me," he recalls. "But, a lot has changed since. It's the time of the indie filmmaker, and hence the best time to be part of the film industry."

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