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Produce a film with just Re 1
SHWETA SHARMA  29th Jul 2012

Illustration by Enakshi Roy | Dev Kabir Malik Design

t was Onir's I Am that gave crowd-funding a fresh impetus in India. But when independent filmmakers Anamitra Roy and Sriparna Dey heard about bigwigs like Anurag Kashyap and Ram Gopal Varma producing no-budget films, they decided to make a 'real' no-budget film without traditional producers and distributors. This zeal resulted in The One Rupee Film Project, through which they aim to make a 90-minute movie about independent filmmaking in India.

"It was like, damn, aren't they going to spare a little space for the free-thinkers and activists? Our forum, Little Fish Eat Big Fish, had already started to experiment with this method. We felt that just because we don't have money, we cannot invade their territory, and they will not let us do our job peacefully. But it was not our time to speak up. Without a marketing strategy, without proper financial support how were we supposed to make our voices heard? Nevertheless, we knew that crowd-funding is the method that would help us get some promotions without a promotional budget," explains Roy.

Roy and Dey started their project and fundraising campaign at the Bring Your Own Film Festival 2012. And it worked. Since its inception, the project has successfully collected more than Rs 1 lakh with the biggest amount of individual contribution being Rs 10,001.

"Any so-called 'independent' endeavour should have some creative independence. Producing films using funds from foreign organisations or working with a producer who isn't 'that much mainstream' does not make you an independent filmmaker. Just because it seems smart and trendy, even ordinary freelancers call themselves 'indies'. But what's the independent aspect if you are working with similar cast, hiring similar equipment and finally producing a movie similar to Bollywood? We started as independent individuals back in 2008 and have kept things that way. We are trying our best to reach out as wide as possible," says Dey.

The plot of their film, Asmani Jaharat (Like a Diamond in the Sky), revolves around a group of youngsters who take up filmmaking as a process to express and not make quick cash. The film starts at a point when one of them decides to make a feature. "After this, the stories merge, the characters replace each other. Since all of them are walking on the same path, their crisis and hurdles are the same. We are truthful. We don't make up stories. So, it's our story, the story we have lived through," explains Roy. He adds that whatever the project results in, it is going to be a documentation of the Indian consciousness regarding independent films, ones that do not promote themselves through conventional industrial methods.

Scheduled to be completed by April 2013, the contributors can earn a mention in the movie credits, visit the sets or even play a role (provided you have the abilities) based on the amount donated. The feature is expected to have tracks composed, written and sung by unknown independent artists. But the making comes with its share of obstacles.

"If you are working outside the mainstream industry, the first challenge you face is survival — you must stay alive in public memory. Then comes convincing people — our approach is not an elitist one. That's why the minimum amount of contribution is just one rupee, so that anyone can become a part of the chain. But it's really tough to convince people that a film can also have a life outside cinema-halls, multiplexes and TV channels and with the mainstream industry supporting fake indies, it'll only get tougher," shares Dey.

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