Singapore's NRI author working on web series on Pune

Gurdip Singh
·3-min read

Singapore, Apr 22 (PTI) Singapore-based NRI author and scriptwriter Sunita Lad Bhamray is working on a 10-episode web series on her home city Pune as a tribute to the culture and lifestyle of her neighbourhood there.

Lad Bhamray, a teacher-turned-author and playwright, is working on presenting a 'soft side of Pune', which is one of the fastest-growing IT and Industrial cities in India and a preferred location among MNCs.

'There is something unique and niche about Pune and I’m hoping to showcase that through the lens of simple tales and portraits of people, akin to how legendary novelist R K Narayan portrayed life in the classic, 'Malgudi Days'. It’s an endeavour to draw out the ‘extraordinary from the ordinary,’” Lad Bhamray told PTI on Thursday.

She recently co-produced 'Singapore Vignettes', a compendium of three short films, two of which were on the Indian expatriate community here and one on a Singapore corporate tussle. The film is streaming on Singapore-headquartered streaming platform MX Player. A special theatrical screening of the film was held in Singapore recently.

A naturalised Singaporean when she moved here 20 years ago, she has worked as an educator and then went on to author books for children and on the social lifestyle of Indians as well as writing plays and screenplays.

A wife of an MNC executive here and a mother of two, Lad Bhamray is one of the growing numbers of NRIs dedicated to writing and producing low-budget entertainment films mostly on Indian society and culture.

The 'Singapore Vignettes' producer, writer and director Zafar Anjum, an NRI settled here for the past 16 years, calls the growing number of Singapore NRI filmmakers with a focus on Indian culture as making of a 'mini-Bollywood'.

More than a dozen films have been produced in Singapore, both short and feature films, in the last couple of years that have gone on winning international awards or have been released on OTT platforms or on popular Youtube Channels such as Large Short Films, he said.

Besides Anjum ('The Sacrifice', and 'Singapore Vignettes'), filmmakers like Shilpa Krishnan Shukla ('Tashi', 'Kathaah@8', 'Dots'), Aditya Kripalani ('Tikli & Laxmi Bomb', 'Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal', 'Devi aur Hero'), Anshul Tiwari ('Bin Bulaye', 'Sugee Cake', 'New Neighbour'), Amit Agarwal ('Son of Kali', 'Farewell Goddess'), Sangeeta Nambiar ('A Gran Plan'), Tagore Almeida ('A God of Sinners', 'Uss Din') and Anand Paga ('Grahanam') have been active in the filmmaking space.

'Though these are not typical commercial films like those made in thousands every year in India, we have a special focus that combines, at times, a slice of life from Singapore,' said Anjum.

'Most of our films feature Singapore-based Indian professionals with a passion to act in dramas and short films. There is a chance to create opportunities for these talented Indians and perhaps, incrementally, build a base of films that we can share with the world through online media and streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5 and MX Player,' said Anjum.

He listed out 'Tashi' (2018), streaming on ZEE5 now, as one of the successful films made on the Indian family in Singapore by NRI Shilpa Krishnan Shukla.

'Low budget short films have brought out creativity among the NRI community and presented to global audiences an entertainment option through the online media,' he said.

Going forward, both Anjum and Lad Bhamray are exploring more ideas, some of which are on the growing India-Singapore people-to-people connectivity.

'There are good options to turn stories into films, especially taking a Singapore angle,' he said. The 'Singapore Vignettes II' is on the anvil.

A likely story is on the December 2012 rape victim, Nirbhaya, who was brought from New Delhi to a Singapore hospital in an air ambulance for treatment but was taken home dead, according to Anjum. PTI GS BK BK