Published: 26th January 2021
Ditch Netflix and Amazon Prime because this platform showcases the choicest indie films you need to watch now!
Anantha Perumal and Amrita Sekhar founded India Cinema House to showcase the best of indie cinema and virtually engage the audience with it. This is why you need to check out this cool portal ASAP!
Every night, it's the same conundrum. What do we watch and on which OTT platform? There is no doubt about the fact that we are spoilt for choice, but somehow, the palate of the modern-day audience has evolved. We want to learn and be surprised, not just escape. In times like these, India Cinema House (ICH) comes like a breath of fresh air. It's a new platform for promoting indie movies that are waiting with bated breath to tell you their story, yet, don't have the means or the ways to reach you. It was the labyrinth that filmmaker Anantha Perumal (32) went through himself when it came to showcasing his film Dhoolpet Ganesha that made him and Amrita Sekhar (27), who worked with him to distribute the film, feel the need for a platform like ICH.
Anantha Perumal and Amrita Sekhar | (Pic: ICH)
Offering a detailed explanation with regards to the genesis of the portal, Anantha says, "I knew Dhoolpet Ganesha was a small film and that it won't go to the theatres. So, I tried to find alternative ways to screen it. Hence, I travelled to cities like Raipur, Chennai and Delhi in 2019 to showcase it to clusters and collectives interested in watching honest and thoughtful cinema and even had the chance to interact with them. And after the pandemic, even small communities across India started looking for different avenues to showcase their films." Hence, ICH was launched in the second week of January 2021.
Dhoolpet Ganesha is a documentary about Ganesh Chaturthi celebrated in Dhoolpet, an area in Hyderabad
The pandemic hasn't just robbed us of theatres, it has stolen from us the whole experience of watching a film in a community as opposed to little (or not so little) black rectangles. What ICH attempts to bring back is engagement. No, interviews on Zoom or Facebook Lives with filmmakers just doesn't cut it when it is scattered across multiple platforms so, ICH wants to be a safe house where you don't just view indie films, you can catch live interviews, one-on-one video sessions, video essays, panel discussions and more, so that you have the opportunity to understand the film better. And all this happens on the ICH platform's video player they built from scratch with the help of a small team. "Cinema and media literacy is important to us. Hence, the discussion page," says Anantha who hails from Hyderabad but is in Delhi currently.
Events | (Pic: ICH)
Each film has its own page on the portal to collate the scattered experience of watching. It's a dedicated discussion page with a very unique and cinema-specific commenting tool. As Amrita tells us more about it, we are that much more impressed. "Viewers can take a screenshot of a particular scene and post it along with their comments on the scene. You can even tag the appropriate discipline, namely cinematography, set design and so on. We are currently working on a more evolved tagging system that can sort all comments as per the tags you are interested in," she explains.
While Amrita was born and brought up in Delhi and was pursuing a PhD from Ashoka University, Anantha studied Film Directing from the California Institute of the Arts
Also, remember how we were talking about being spoilt for choice? On ICH will be a tightly-curated line-up of movies available for a limited period of time, as per their community exhibition guidelines. The filmmakers, NGOs or collectives can submit their films and upon approval, they will be given access to their film page. "We don't want to join hands with filmmakers to take control of their film. We just want to put our weight behind it and help drive a conversation around it," says Anantha.
Listed films | (Pic: ICH)
Now, with big-budget films taking the OTT route, which has predominantly been the domain of indie films, the question for the latter is not just about being available on it but also about being found, points out Anantha. ICH puts the spotlight directly on these films. "The kind of information and knowledge you have depends on the privilege you have. There are many filmmakers who don't know how to write grand proposals and hence, miss out on screening or festivals. So with ICH, our aim is to share information freely and provide accessibility," says the filmmaker as he concludes.
Along with watching the movie, you can even watch the trailer of the film on ICH which is accompanied by all the information about the film and a curator's note as well
Now showing on ICH
- A Love Letter to Cinema | Docu-fiction | Telugu: An indie filmmaker from Hyderabad wants to make a film set inside a car, inspired by Jafar Panahi's Taxi
- The Maya of Bunnu K Endo | Fiction | Kannada: When a couple is a victim of a vicious game played by an MNC, all they seek is freedom
For more on them check out indiacinemahouse.com