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31 Mar 2023, Edition - 2817, Friday

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Now, make your own movies!!!

KV Lakshmana


Not very long into the future, it will not be “lets watch a movie, darling” but it could well be “Come let’s make our movie !!!”

This here is a set of rebel film makers who want to disrupt the entertainment industry and democratise it – by giving the audience the power to choose what they want to see – the story, the plot, the music, the characters and the climax. In fact, shaping the movies as they see it in their imaginations – but collective imagination expressed through digital voting.

Well doing all this is still some time away, the concept is very real with India’s first “Democratic film” titled Grey, opening on Saturday in Mumbai for a test screening. At this film, the audience can change the plot, narrative, costumes and location etc, through voting.

Swati Talati, creative Producer of the film, produced by theatre group –Fireweavers Theatre Production –, told Covai Post that “ democratisation in film making is now a reality and will be on test come Saturday in Mumbai.”

“In the future, we would like the audience to be able to change the music, bring in new characters, even cast themselves in the story, etc. All of this works based on popular vote, digitally,” said Yogesh Baldotra, the Creative Director in an exclusive conversation with the Covai Post.

Explaining how it works, he said “when the film is to be aired, there will be a voting process set up as per the facilities existing at the channel house/OTT platform that is going to air it.” Something like how people vote live in reality music and dance shows.

The film will be shown in parts at first, to get public opinion to shape the film in its entirety. And once made, it will be shown to the audience. And all this takes some time, as sections have to be reshot to reflect the popular vote, Swati said.

Well, one can say it is like playing a video game, Cricket or Football, where the player chooses the teams, the players, the uniform, weather conditions and the like. All the variables will be factored in.

Well into the future, there will be a confluence of the arts and technology that will change the way films are made and watched in the country for the past many decades.

“There is no secret, the sections will be shot after the voting process is complete and we have a result. Hence, the sections will not be aired all at once. We will be straying away from the idea of binge watching,” Yogesh said.

A theatre artist herself, Swati hoped future and future of entertainment will truly reflect the society as it exists. “So that it shows more of real truth rather than the Filmy Drama,” this drama actor said.
Is this really possible?

Netflix is doing Interactive Storytelling. They came up with their first film on 28th December: Bandersnatch. In Bandersnatch, viewers make decisions for the main character, the young programmer Stefan Butler who is adapting a fantasy choose-your-own-adventure novel into a video game in 1984.

Test screening of India’s First Democratic Film will be in Mumbai on Saturday. The dates of commercial release are yet to be finalised, she said.

“The concept of Democratic Stories has birthed from the humble roots of our theatre company, Fireweavers Theatre Productions, with the intention of giving the power back to the audience to decide what they want to see,” Swati said.

For the present, the film medium talks about our society and sets definition of the same. And it is decided by the creativity and sensibilities of a select few production houses, Swati said adding that if the audience were able to decide how the society is being portrayed, it will be a truer reflection of the society.

Yes, she is a part of a team of rebel film makers headed by Yogesh himself, wanting to change how the entertainment industry functions. Will it be like how Jio disrupted the telecom market or not remains to be seen. But as a concept, it sure is likely to appeal to the youthful audience that may not want to lap up all the “entertainment that is dished out to them.”

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