'It's our job to keep hope alive'

Updated: Jul 05, 2020, 09:06 IST | Anju Maskeri | Mumbai

Television director Abhijit Das collaborates with actors negotiating lockdown in different countries for his new short film series

Evelyn Seubert, founder and president of the International Youth Media Summit
Evelyn Seubert, founder and president of the International Youth Media Summit

Crisis can sometimes fuel creativity. Filmmaker Abhijit Das' new production, Unlocked, a series of five short films, which he shot virtually with actors from across the world, is proof. "What makes this an intriguing time is that the whole world is in the same state. Locked down. Physically distanced. Scared. And, hoping for a miracle," says Das. In these times, he believes it's the job of artistes and performers to keep this hope alive. The film is an attempt to break barriers, geographically, linguistically and psychologically.

The five stories are linked by a narrative that moves from one country to another. "Every story is a chance encounter with a stranger, which leads to unlocking of a secret," says Das, who is known for his directorial hit TV show Sanjivani, starring Surbhi Chandna, Namit Khanna, Mohnish Bahl and Gurdeep Kohli. Earlier this year, Das was one of the six Indian filmmakers to be selected for an exchange programme by the US Consulate. Some of the connections he made during the stint came handy while picking actors for the film.

The film features actor Smriti Kalra
The film features actor Smriti Kalra

He started shooting in the last week of April, "a time when all artistes were getting restless in captivity". He admits that there were challenging moments during the making. "One glitch that I didn't anticipate is the time difference. If I am working with actors in India and the USA, we are working 12 hours apart. So after I finished directing the one in India and was about to retire, the American actor has woken up and was ready to shoot. There was just one problem: when do I sleep?" he laughs.

But the effort was worth it. "I have never been to Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sweden, but now I feel like I've roamed the streets of these countries. I got a chance to enter the homes of people here and discover how small the world actually is."

Abhijit Das
Abhijit Das

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