From ‘Lust Stories’ and ‘Ray’ to ‘Paava Kadhaigal’ and ‘Annum Pennum’, the list of anthology films released in the past year is long.
Anthology movies are now part of the streaming services course and have grown in popularity even though this subgenre of filmmaking has been around for a long time in India. But are these short films a success with our audiences? Do they allow content creators to push the boundaries in terms of creativity and innovation? Do they challenge stereotypes in narrative tropes?
From ‘Lust Stories’ and ‘Ray’ to ‘Paava Kadhaigal’ and ‘Annum Pennum’, the list of anthology films released (in multiple languages) in the past year on OTT platforms is long. Great Indian directors are seizing this opportunity to experiment and explore new genres. With pandemic lockdowns forcing film shooting to be intermittently stopped and cinema closings affecting revenue streams globally, actors, directors and producers have been forced to turn to streaming services and television for projects and revenues. And it has been a huge boon to the public.
Great directors like Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Karthik Subbaraj, Sudha Kongara, Gautham Menon and Ashiq Abu have embraced this embodiment. Many report that it is difficult to tell a compelling story in 30-40 minutes and connect with the audience at the same time. However, that is also the beauty of this form of cinema. Have all the anthologies been a hit with the audience here? This is the big question.
One of the key issues is that not all the stories in an anthology movie are compelling or well told and that’s where the problem lies. While it is great to see various directors with different sensibilities joining a single anthology film, only some are able to effectively bring their expertise to the short film. This may be because they haven’t quite grasped the format of the short story, or because the story they’ve chosen doesn’t lend itself to this form of storytelling.
Today, the importance given to short films, or short films, is increasing although they do not fit into traditional Indian entertainment content. Shorts have never been sought after by TV or satellite channels here, but thanks to the internet, the popularity of digital video content and YouTube, they have gained traction. The opportunity for aspiring filmmakers – and even established filmmakers – to show off their talent and get noticed through short films (most are independent short films) is endless despite the fact that they may not see. be no income. However, these shorts allow filmmakers to take risks and explore genres they might not otherwise have tackled. Setting the stage and building the characters, narrative, and conflict, all in a matter of minutes is thrilling and rewarding for those looking for the challenge.
Having said that, how many Indian directors even today consider short films as a way to tell stories? This is where Western filmmakers stand out. The most successful directors like Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Taika Waititi, Lynne Ramsay and Andrea Arnold have made short films (which were also nominated for the Oscars). In fact, some of them start their careers directing short films before venturing into the mainstream genre. Many continue to make short films even after achieving success on the big screen, as it allows them creative freedom and the ability to tell stories that would not be possible in a feature film format.
The lockdown has given anthology films a boost on OTT, but once theaters get back into business, it’s questionable whether established directors will consider making these shorts or just prefer to make big bucks on the big one. screen. Filmmakers are trying to embrace new ways of telling short stories, but nothing has been a resounding success with audiences. So far, the anthology films released in India have been a mixed bag. They didn’t challenge stereotypes or really tell stories that continue to haunt you long after you’ve watched them. Does this affect the popularity of the director? No. Is it exciting to see new faces and new talent in these stories? Yes. Does it make it exciting to see a story you’ve read told on screen in 30 minutes? Yes.
What the anthology films also do is audience fatigue, as there is no consistent quality between the stories in the film. The jump button on the remote is used regularly, as people don’t hesitate to take to social media to share reviews from various segments that they feel are not worth watching. We don’t know what the future holds after the theaters reopen. For now, just hit play.