There was a fascination that Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) student Gaurav Shimpi had with coins and trains in his childhood. He would go to the railway tracks and place a coin on the tracks and wait for the train to pass over. “I was told that once that happened the coin would become a magnet,” he says. When he was making his short film for the television direction course at the institute this year, the memory came back to assist him in writing the script.
His film Chumbak has recently won the Special Jury Award at the 15th Kyoto International Student Film and Video Festival, Japan. Of the 250 entries selected, Shimpi’s film won top honours. This is the first year that a film from the FTII has won an award at the Kyoto festival.
Chumbak is the story of a 10-year-old boy, Dinu, who is unable to connect with the people around him and is fascinated by magnets. One day he goes to his father’s factory to give him his lunch box and a sequence of events follow. A group of boys take away Dinu’s magnets on the way back.
The film takes a different turn where a saddened Dinu meets a shepherd who transforms a piece of iron into a magnet. The incident changes the little boy’s perception towards society and tries to connect with them.
Chumbak is his journey from the disconnected to the connected,” says Shimpi, a graduate in mass communication who joined FTII last year for the television direction course. The 14-minute film was shot in February this year over four days in and around Pune. “The film also deals with the innocence and curiosity of childhood, which brings out different human emotions with an underlying social message. All this is explained to the little boy using magnets,” adds Shimpi.