Tech tools star in Santhali films

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By NILANJANA GHOSH CHOUDHURY in Jamshedpur
  • Published 18.04.08
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Jamshedpur, April 18: Barely a decade-old in the world of silver screen, the Santhali film industry is today gaining its own identity. And helping the industry in this regard are new technologies and a smart marketing.

From technical interventions in terms of shooting to digital screening in villages and even experimentation with documentaries, the Santhali film world is coming of age.

“Days are gone when Santhali or other tribal language cinema were considered a losing proposition. Today more filmmakers and producers are taking recourse to newer technologies to enhance their prospects in the tinsel town,” said Dashrath Hansda, a leading Santhali filmmaker in the steel city.

Celluloid screening of films is becoming passé and replacing it is the stylised digital format. Even CDs and DVDs are being released instead of VCRs.

Earlier, films were released in cinemas but gradually that is being replaced and now producers are organising digital screening in remote villages which cater to about 200 to 300-odd audience.

“Shooting films on digital mode is pretty new but it is gradually gaining grounds. In states like Orissa and Bengal where there is a good market for Santhali films, producers are making digital movies.

In Jharkhand too, almost all production houses are now taking on the digital style of filmmaking,” added Hansda, whose production house Chunu Films would soon release two back-to-back digital films this year.

Trade analysts reveal that to make a regional language film in celluloid, the costs would be around Rs 10 to 12 lakh whereas with a meagre budget of Rs 2 lakh, a digital mode film can be made. Not only that such a film can also be completed within a very short period as compared to celluloid cinema.

In the past one-and-a-half year, in Jharkhand alone over seven digital films were made. From a mere two or three, the Santhali film industry in the state today boasts of over 10 production houses and some even operates from remote areas like Rajnagar in West Singhbhum and Garhwa block.

“The introduction of digital filmmaking has made it possible for us to shoot films without much difficulty,” said Bhuktu Kumar Murmu, a filmmaker from Chaibasa.

Even digital screening is much more economical. “The audience for these films are in smaller town and villages where there good cinemas are missing. So filmmakers and distributors have started arranging for smaller screenings in villages and towns which would only cater to the Santhali-speaking populace,” said Probal Mahto, a Chakradharpur-based filmmaker who is currently residing in Delhi and making short films and documentaries with a prevalence of Jharkhand in them.

The movement has given birth to originality in script and treatment also.

Filmmakers are today selecting stories and topics which has a local relevance instead of copying from Hindi films.