The current ongoing pandemic has led to some brutal and shocking, disturbing happenings around us all. Artists across the globe are putting out their thoughts on paper, paying tribute to the heroes and the less fortunate ones too. With many short films being created around this difficult time, filmmaker Kireet Khurana too couldn’t keep his feelings unaddressed and showcased those through an intriguing animated short, Pravaasi.
The events of the current ongoing pandemic are being continuously showcased on the television. Few such incidents which caught the attention of us all were the beatings of the migrants, the police brutality, people dying on roads, after having walked for days merely a few kilometers away from their homes, hunger, pain and the apathy. All very disturbing.
“The most haunting events of the migrants’ exodus stayed with me, and I wanted to string them together as a narrative,” mentioned Khurana. His talented friend and animation director, Vivekananda Roy Ghatak was making his own short snips and posting them on social media on the same issue. Khurana approached Ghatak to see if he would be interested in collaborating to help release this film, since both felt the same about the issue.
“When Kireet approached me I said yes! without seeing the script. But once I saw the script the power of the piece really hit me and I was hooked.” While creating the animation, Ghatak was a bit hesitant to use such disturbing imagery when Khurana pointed out the importance of artists in immortalising such events through their art. “The incidents will slip from public memory, so it is our responsibility as well,” expressed Ghatak.
Ghatak’s red-white-black style is stark and powerful. It brings alive an emotion that is captivating. “The idea was to trace the actual images from the events without modifying them, so that they are recognisable from the footage seen across the media,” said Khurana. 2D animation served the purpose and it was what helped them use the device of morphing between two sequences within the same couplet seamlessly, Ghatak added.
The animated short is narrated by actress Tapsee Pannu. This is the first time both, Khurana and Pannu worked together. “To get her on board, we had to almost finish the film and show her a close to finished product so that she can sense the impact of the film. The moment she saw the film, she instantly said yes. We are lucky to have her on board as she not only has her heart in the right place, she is also a very talented actress. She has done a wonderful job as a narrator and been a great supporter for the project,” Khurana added.
Pannu with her proper hold over her voice, quite seamlessly managed to make the visuals look more appealing and hard-hitting. Talking about the film and her role, Pannu said, “The people who were part of this project came together considering the incident’s severity. Both me and Kireet Sir were probably on the same page with how we felt about it. The words written by him and narrated by me rightly projected what we felt about the incident.”
The team as a whole attempts to bring empathy among people through this animated short. Ghatak also thinks that the soft power of artists all over the country is a great unifier and a motivator to nudge people out of apathy. “If we have even for a moment managed to make them feel for the migrants, we’ve succeeded in our job,” Khurana concluded.
The artists through various mediums have now become a collective voice of every individual who wants to ask the system, what their exact role is? How is this suffering going to end? The team of Pravaasi, through this short is questioning the entire system, themselves and every other citizen of the country.