‘Locked in Together’ — a film of hope and positivity amid corona gloom

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BY SIRSHENDU PANTH
Kolkata, April 11 (IANS)
Putting out a collage of fun moments, love and bonding amid the worldwide gloomy scenes of death, disease and desolation, a Bengali director has come up with a short film of hope featuring 26 actors from different fields and various corners of India locked down in their houses, to spread the ‘stay at home’ message for defeating Covid-19.
Christened ‘Locked in Together’, the two-minute and 51 second video shot on mobile phones and put together by noted filmmaker Arnab Riingo Banerjee, captures the participants from eight cities and towns in five states and a Union Territory exuding positivity in the confines of home.
The opening shot is of a new dawn with chirping of birds heard in the background. One by one, three solitary figures of a young boy, a man and a woman passes — somewhat silhouette like — as messages flash across the scene, talking of scare, lockdowns, and the contagious virus “that has declared war against us” and is “trying its best to reach our homes”.
“We miss the people we love. It has been weeks since friends connected and embraced each other,” says one message, as the street lights go out and the sun rises.
From then on, the mood turns gay.
There are shots of people watering the plants, enjoying the morning cuppa, playing the violin or flute, singing, relishing aerobic exercises.
Then there are the family fun moments, with some cuddling their pets or merrily rehearsing the dance steps.
As the shots race through, the optimism becomes infectious.
The video ends with a call to stay at home.
“Do not break the rules set by the government to fight Covid 19. Your family depnends on you”.
Says Banerjee: “The message is you stay at home, stay safe during the lockdown, Enjoy at home, as your friends are also doing the same, as everyone is locked in together”.
The director of hit films like ‘Na Hanyate’ and ‘Kranti’ says he was inspired by a similar video shot by Amitabh Bachchan and other actors after the lockdown.
“But that video had a clear cut script, dialogues. This one has no script. And there is no dialogue. Actually there is dialogue in the silence. It’s the sound of silence,” Banerjee, who received the Anandalok best director award for his film Love in 2008, told IANS.
It all began three days earlier.
“I was chatting with my friend Arindam Basu on WhatsApp. Then this idea came. We wondered why we don’t do something to at least tell each other that it is fun to be at home. We wanted to show happy shots of people celebrating the lockdown”, says the 1969 born.
With his friends scattered all over the country, messages were exchanged on WhatsApp.
Banerjee asked everybody to shoot themselves in whichever way they liked.
Only a voice instruction video was sent on whatsApp about the camera angle.
“A script would have robbed the spontaneity. Everybody did it blind. Nobody had an inkling what others are doing, which is why it came out so natural”, he says.
In exactly 24 hours, the participants shot themselves, uploaded footages on google drive and mailed them to the edit studio at Kolkata for Banerjee to do the editing and other post-production work.
Those seen in the video are a mix of professional actors and amateurs.
From a spotboy Titu in Bilonia of Tripura, to a writer Meenakshi in Pondicherry, and an editor Bridge In Mumbai, as also a consultant like Arindam Basu in Kolkata, it is a prized moment to be seen in the video.
“It’s spontaneous, heartfelt and gives a message of solidarity in these dark times,” said Basu.
Among professionals, there is Assamese actress Tanaya Nandy from Guwahati, and a host of known faces from Bengali television and film industry like Saoli, Prateek, Joy Banerjee and Santanu Nath.

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