The Creatives

Covid Playbook Rule #3: Make crisis the muse

The world war started on horseback and ended in the nuclear bomb. Innovation and creativity has always been conceived in the womb of a crisis. And there is a reason why it so happens. Lets see.. So whats the definition of creativity ? Creativity manifests when two things combine in a completely different way. And those new combinations are amply evident when the regular order of things is shaken up. And that’s exactly what Covid has done. It has altered, decimated and destroyed many aspects of how the world was operating. And while a lot of us resist the new order, wishing for our old lives or waiting for things to come back to ‘normal’ a few embrace the new, accept the ‘new normal’ and importantly create beautiful things right in the midst of chaos. And its at such times, that one begins to see beauty in chaos.

Creativity as a response to crisis is yet another rule in the Covid Response playbook. This rule was uncovered through the three stories that we stumbled into, through our research. This rule looks at the crisis, to examine what has changed and how is the change giving impetus to something new. As a wise man said, everything happens for a reason and purpose and it serves us well. All the three artists in todays stories have created something new during the Covid Crisis. Award winning writer Aditi Moghle has scripted a new movie on relationships with Covid19 as a backdrop. BBC award winning photographer Nayan Khanolkar captured the beauty of a locked-down Mumbai through his lens, while experimental movie maker Shilpa Krishnan Shukla remote produced a movie right in the middle of the lockdown. Lets see what these stories are all about..

Story #1: Aditi Moghe

Scripting a new movie based on Covid experiences

Aditi is a freewheeling wanderer, writer and artist. She is known for scripting award winning movies in marathi like ‘Coffee and barach kahi’, ‘Hampi’ and more recently Cycle. During Covid and the ensuing lockdown, Aditi observed that amongst other things changing, relationships themselves were subject to completely different circumstances. Inability to meet your near and dear ones, incompatible family members being locked up inside homes, isolated senior citizens, the pressure cooker like situation at home, the stigma of Covid etc – A lot of such factors were changing the fundamental dynamics of relationships. All these these experiences were touching, moving and insightful. And from what she observed,  her next film story started taking shape in her mind. And a beautiful touching script emerged. So this story revolves around a family involving an old couple whose children have settled abroad. The kids happen to visit India before the lockdown, and are stranded here post the lockdown, and unwillingly so. The old parents are happy that they will get to spend as much time with their kids but the kids are in a hurry to go back to their lives and are hating everyday of the stay. How these relationships evolve is the fabric of this story which also weaves in a chapter or 2 on the migrant labor crisis. Aditi will be pitching this film to producers post covid and it promises to be as touching as her other films like Cycle. Cycle, which won several awards nationally and internationally apart from being sent to Cannes by the State government will soon be released on Netflix this month, and readers can catch the magic of her work on the platform.

Story #2: Shilpa Krishnan Shukla

Producing a movie during Covid and the lockdown.

Which was the most watched screen during the lockdown ? Well.. its not hard guess – It was zoom.  We are all used to seeing the little boxes on our screens representing our office meetings, catchups with friends, birthday celebrations, online learning, learning music and so much more. Shilpa though decided to use these little boxes in a chat window as the execution style for a film – Dots – conceptualized, shot, produced and released during the lockdown. Shilpa, whose day job is that of a marketing director in Abbot loves her moonlighting avatar as a film maker just as much. This much awarded film maker, known for making offbeat films within severe budgetary constraints decided to challenge herself to make yet another one during the limitations of the lockdown. So, while she was sitting in Singapore, she saw the opportunity to bring together 10 talented actors that she had bumped into, in various film festivals and actually execute a film. The film revolves around relationships and is about random unconnected people connecting with each other on a chat for the first time. How their conversations evolve and reveal the nuances and beauty of human relationships, is the crux of the story. Shot entirely on a mobile phone with a three person crew including herself, the product Dots is an example of creativity being born inside the box. Dots was released on Youtube and has already garnered 78k views. Watch this lovely film to know what can be achieved with just a great script.

Story #3: Nayan Khanolkar

Documenting the lockdown through drones for 30 days straight

Nayan Khanolkar is one of India’s only photographers to win the prestigious BBC Wildlife photography Award and the World Press Award simultaneously. Nayan, whose day job is that of a biology professor, stalks leopards and wild cats when he is not teaching. Constantly in search for the once-in-a-lifetime moments, Covid instantly qualified as an appropriate backdrop for doing something special. ‘The last time something like this happened was in 1918, more than a 100 years ago. This is history in the making. And I don’t want to just sit back and watch it” and when you send your intent out strongly, its said that the universe conspires. He soon got a call from the BMC to help capture some stills of a locked down city. Nayan took the conversation to the next level and asked if he could instead capture what the city looked like through a drone. The answer was a delighted yes. So there he went – next 45 days – every single day without a break moving to the nooks and corners of the city capturing how beautiful Mumbai looked like from a birds perspective. He captured it all – right from heritage monuments, to iconic landmarks, to peacocks in the streets to famingoes turning the sky pink to empty streets to migrants flocking out of the city. He has collated spell bounding footage of Mumbai in a shape and circumstance that the city hasn’t seen in decades. He was always risking Covid and he lost 10 kgs during these two months but the chance to have a small stroke in history’s grim painting superseded it all.

– Sangram Surve

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