Actress Tillotama Shome, who keeps her oeuvre in feature films limited, has now explored the short film genre with “Nayantara’s Necklace”. She says the internet has opened up an avenue for filmmakers who wish to tell a story their way, without the “blade of censorship”.
“Not so long back, short films were largely a showreel for a new director. With the web exploding (many people to thank for that — All India Bakchod and The Viral Fever being pioneers), the frustration of not being able to tell stories that don’t pander to the rules of commerce has found a much needed platform to explode, express and release itself,” Tillotama said.
“The missing blade of censorship makes the platform sweeter and has attracted many well known directors to explore the short film medium to tell a story the way they want it! Actors like me are only too happy for this fortuitous development,” said the actress, known for her performances in films like “Monsoon Wedding” and “Qissa”.
Her statement seems only apt given the popularity that Sujoy Ghosh’s “Ahalya”, featuring Radhika Apte, has enjoyed across digital platforms.
Tillotama’s own short film “Nayantara’s Necklace”, a 20-minute dramatic thriller based on a true incident, unfolds a story of a friendship between two women. With suspense and surprises, the short film revolves around a necklace which is also used as a metaphor for things which may not seem to be what they actually are.
The film, released by Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films, showcases the empty spaces that exist behind the bustling lives in a modern metropolis, which results in forming an accidental friendship between two completely opposite characters played by Konkona Sen Sharma and Tillotama. It is directed by Jaydeep Sarkar, known for writing films like “Shaurya: It Takes Courage to Make Right… Right” and “Khoya Khoya Chand”.
As an actress, Tillotama says she “loved the idea of the ‘copy cat’, the desire to be someone else briefly and how Sarkar had woven that idea into a setting so familiar and yet unexpected”.
“Besides, Jaydeep and Konkona are two very dear friends in my life and the three of us had never worked together, so I was very excited when this opportunity manifested itself,” she said.
Working with Konkona itself was a wonderful experience, she said.
“Konkona is a friend I trust deeply, and I was just so happy to discover while working on this film that she is also an incredibly generous and sensitive co-actor. I know its naive, but when good actors are also really good people, it just makes the world feel a bit nicer. There was some chemistry between us for sure that was just there, doing its own thing.”
Now, Tillotama is enthused to try her hand at more short films.
Talking about it, she said: “Yes, especially if the shorts allow a space of exploration that is not offered to me in features due to perception or myriad other reasons. One is just hungry for opportunities that take you into the unknown, spaces that you have never gone to, but perhaps secretly wished you could.”
The actress is also slated to feature in Anup Singh’s “The Song of Scorpions”, which has Irrfan Khan and Golshifteh Farahani in the lead.