Inspired by a real life incident, Playgrounds revolves around the child of a migrant labourer, set in the varied working neighbourhoods in the city of Bengaluru.

Mapping a life of wandering this Bengaluru duos short-film on migrant workers child wins top awardScreenshot
Features Wednesday, April 13, 2016 - 19:32

A film revolving around the life of migrant worker's child in Bengaluru won the best short film at the prestigious Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA) this month, having garnered international applause from eight film festivals.

First released in 2015, the critically acclaimed Playgrounds has been directed city-based filmmaking duo, Shamik Sen Gupta and Pallavi MD.

“Don’t think the answer is clichéd but the win was utterly unexpected. At one point, Pallavi told me to re-check if the news was even true,” laughs Shamik Sen Gupta, speaking about the importance of momentum in the industry.

Classmates from a film exchange programme in the city, Pallavi and Shamik have remained professional partners ever since. Produced out of a shoestring budget of Rs 3.2 lakh, fine tricks and spontaneity was king during the course of the film.

Pallavi (left) and Shamik 

From shooting rehearsals on the streets to using motorbikes as dollies, Playgrounds faced challenges both financially and geographically. “Some locations, we had the permission to shoot, while for the others, beg, borrow, steal was the way to go!,” Pallavi exclaims. 

Working with children too was a learning experience for the duo. “We would sometimes create games out of their performances, just so that they didn’t lose focus,” smile the filmmakers.

Inspired by a real life incident, Playgrounds revolves around the child of a migrant labourer, set in the varied working neighbourhoods in the city of Bengaluru.

“Though the film is stirred by real life events, the Iceberg Theory holds true here, since the story was just a start in the process of representing the bigger picture. It is about the bigger story of survival in the cosmopolitan metropolis,” explains Shamik.

Not sticking just to Kannada, the film features many languages including Urdu and Tamil. “We live in a multi-cultural landscape where languages are no longer a barrier for communication. It is wonderful how people interact with each other in their own ways. We wanted to capture that in our film,” says Pallavi.

The 18-minute short film has seen success at international festivals, having won gold in the Asian New Force category at the Film and Visual Media in Asia (IFVA) Festival in Hong Kong.

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