You can’t be gay if you are ‘Gay’! These are not our words but the representation and attitude of the society. Sadly, Humanity has been redefined according to the sexual orientation of every individual. So, a boy and girl getting along is ‘normal’ but what about a boy and a boy or a girl and another girl? And, to convey the feelings of these isolated counterparts, Abhishek Verma, a young enthusiast in the field of animation has created a short film on Homosexuality titled Maacher Jhol (The Fish Curry).
Having created an animated short film Chasni (2014) based on the efforts to stop acid attacks, Abhishek is again targeting a far more sensitive and socially frail issue. Maacher Jhol aims to convey the underlying feeling of conservation that a homosexual undergoes and how difficult it is for him to express himself even before his own family. Abhishek claims, “The fear of opening up is greater than the fear of non acceptance from the society. Acceptance comes in later, first one needs to have the courage to open up and express wholly.”
As it is said, ‘Come out of the closet and be what you are’. But, is it really that easy? Abhishek recollects, “One of my very close pal once revealed that he is gay. In fact, before even revealing it, he told me that this may be the last day of our friendship as he feared that I wouldn’t accept him henceforth.” This struck Abhishek deeply and inspired him to portray these feelings or rather fears of homosexuals out to the huge world in an interesting way.
With a team of 5 youngsters from across India, Abhishek chose basic hand drawn 2D animation as he thoroughly believes that animation is best done with a ‘pencil and paper’. He says, “You can draw anything with your hand; you can create your weirdest thought and wildest imagination and put it down on paper with no limitations.” And this holds true for various young animators for ‘Imagination and visualisation has no limits’.
“In 2D hand-drawn animation, 1 sec of animation involves 8-12 drawings and that too in colour. So for a minute of animation, it needs 500 drawings to run and appear as a moving image. The film Maacher Jhol is 11 min 30 secs, so there will be around 5000 drawings needed to create a moving frame.” Apart from this, every character requires detailing, background changes according to situations, sound effects are added and voice over is synchronised. For editing, Adobe Flash, Photoshop and After Effects are used as several other people have contributed to create the film.
How difficult is it for a grown up homosexual to expose his own dilemma before his aged father? Will his father who is bound by an orthodox mindset understand his son? The film conveys the story of the middle aged protagonist Lalit Ghosh who attempts to reveal his love for another man to his father over dinner. Abhishek explains, “Food is the best way to win anybody’s heart! And, Lalit tries to cook his father’s favourite Fish curry to enchant his mood.” In the last film too, Abhishek has used food to convey an in-depth thought and strike the right chord. “Food is our cultural identity. Indians are known everywhere because of the unique kind of food we eat. We all are emotionally connected to food and enjoy it to the fullest,” expounds Abhishek.
The film is still in production since 4-5 months of its inception and is expected to be out by the end of coming January. But, there is a minor milestone which can be overcome if we all extend our help and spread the word. ‘Funding’ is one major obstacle that young entrepreneurs face and funding coming in the way of Expression of Talent is disheartening. This film too requires funding so an online crowd funding initiative has been started as it targets to gather Rs 7 lakh.
Abhishek says, “It is a clear process as anyone who contributes even Rs 50 or Rs 100 to the film will be a part of the film directly. We need funds to promote the film, send it to various Film Festivals, pay off the travel expenses and also use advanced resources. However, the grant of Rs 1 lakh from Jamuura Films has helped to lead the project till now. So, if you want to contribute and create awareness about these socially deprived individuals then visit https://www.ketto.org/maacherjhol
Fear is the biggest hurdle that we always either hide or run away from; we barely face it! With this film creating awareness about such a sensitive issue that we don’t like to even speak about, definitely it will trigger the LGBT community to take a stand and courageously accept what they feel. A small effort from a bunch of young blood, Maacher Jhol, strongly professes – You can’t change everything but definitely you can change something!