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Aim to create legacy of untold stories: Bharatbala on making 1,000 short films about India

twitter-logoPTI | October 4, 2019 | Updated 11:12 IST

By Komal Panchamatia Mumbai, Oct 4 (PTI) Through his most ambitious project "Virtual Bharat", filmmaker Bharatbala says he aims to create a legacy of content which covers untold stories of India. Bharatbala, who has backed acclaimed albums like "Vande Mataram" and "Jana Gana Mana", is working on his dream-project - a collection of 1,000 untold, real short stories about the country. The project is a tribute to his father, he said. "My father was a part of the freedom struggle. He inspired me to tell stories that will celebrate India," Bharatbala told PTI in an interview here. Having also directed the music video of the official song of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, "Jiyo Utho Bado Jeeto", he said, at a time when artistes want to narrate "culturally universal" tales, he wants to focus on India. "I have done a lot of India-related projects in the past, whether it was 'Vande Mataram' or 'Jana Gana Mana' or 'Incredible India'. Today, we want to tell culturally universal stories. At the moment, I want to focus on India. I might travel somewhere else and would like to do stories from there," he said. Under "Virtual Bharat", Bharatbala aims to explore various facets of India through its culture, folklore, art, music, literature. "My goal is that if anyone sees, they should feel a sense of pride, invoke pride and celebrate (India) and feel kicked about it. I want to tell stories that are timeless. I want to do human-interest stories, like a day in the life of coal miner or a farmer in Nagaland. These are today's stories but I will find the cultural root to it." He said the short films will be no longer than 10 minutes. "In India, the general tendency is to not watch documentaries. How do I entice them to watch something non-fiction? So we have kept the duration shorter, a narrative that is engaging and production mirrors cinematic vision." Three such films are already out on YouTube. The first film, "Thaalam", has narration by music maestro AR Rahman, and it explores Chundan Vallam, the snake boat racing event in Kerala. Another short, "Haldaar Naag", featuring veteran lyricist Gulzar, follows the story of folk poet Haldhar Nag from Odisha, and a five-part series on 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi's birth. "We are committed for five years. We have already finished 70 films. Every month we will have two-three films releasing initially," he added. Asked if one would see a story from Kashmir, Bharatbala said the research is in place. "We just have to go and film there when things get settled we will go there. We are not going into political aspects. We celebrate the culture, tradition and the landscape." He was earlier set to direct and produce Indo-Japanese film, "The 19th Step", with actor-politician Kamal Haasan, but the film was shelved. But Bharatbala said he now aims to revisit it, adding he is also working on a Hindi film. "I am also close to starting a Hindi film. It is a real war story set in post-Independence India. It is an important story that needs to be told. The script is ready and we are in the process of casting. Hopefully, by next year, we will make the film." PTI KKP RDS RB RB

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