Arnesh Ghose’s Offline chronicles the role of social media after death
It’s hard to come to terms when you lose a person to death but how hard is it to let go when social media keeps you reminding of that person? Arnesh Ghose delves with this offshoot of technology invading our lives and altering it in his debut film - Offline. Read on to know more about the theme of the film, which is relatable at all levels and needs attention. Excerpts:
What convinced you to direct Offline?
The thing that really excited as well as bothered me was the increased dependency that we as a human race have on technology and the kind of relationships that we have been forming with technology. I was noticing how slowly, and steadily, and in a very creepy fashion, technology started doing everything for us and we have started turning into machines. Also, I have always been inquisitive about the afterlife and death. And now when you put the whole perspective of man vs or man with technology, I think of what is the afterlife for us now. The point is that people still live even after they are physically over. Today a dead person lives with their Facebook and Instagram accounts, voice notes, messages, and videos.
Tell us about the story and its characters.
It’s basically about a young couple who are in love with each other. But when the husband passes away, we realize that he seems to be existing in a very different sphere. This film also deals with young grief, the fact that grief is so unmeasurable, that grief is just so - like all of us understand and respect and absorb and experience the grief in different ways. That’s another aspect of the film that makes it very relevant to post 2020 because we all have gone through so much grief this year that it’s also a portrait of grief. So Manvi makes choices that she hopes will elevate her grief but what happens in between can be revealed only in the film. There is drama, there is suspense, there is romance, there is trill, there is everything.
Thriller and romance is a proven genre. Did you consciously choose a genre?
Honestly romance, I don't think there's a lot of romance. The romance is just in her memory. She has her memories of romance. But other than that I don't think the film has a lot of romance as such in it, but thriller yes - I think more than a proven genre it's an engaging genre. I think that's the reason why it's proven that reason why it just seems to work right then we all love watching thriller; we love watching you know shows that have suspense. So, I think that is the whole thing I don’t think I was conscious about it. I know for a fact that yes I wanted to deal with the supernatural genre but from a tech perspective, because I thought these days very honestly I don't think ghosts even have any place to exist anymore and look at our world we are cutting down trees and mountains and making roads and skyscraper. So I don't think that ghosts exist like that’s the reason why the tagline of the film was “log aaj kal bhoot nahi bot banjate hai.” So, I think the supernatural today exists in the tech, people stay alive as spirits not in haunted houses anymore, but on social media. So I think that is like the genre more supernatural like Tech supernatural. I don't know. I don't think it would be but I think Tech supernatural thriller that's what it would be.
What inspired the plot and the characters?
I think I have already spoken about the plot and the characters like I said, the plot has been inspired by the understanding of Man vs technology understanding of how the afterlife today is it existing on social media and all that. Also, it's about trying to navigate these two larger themes through a much more intimate theme of personal grief. The characters, I wanted to tell an intimate story. So, I wanted to tell the story of a young couple who go through an extremely life-altering experience.
What will be your next?
Well, I'm waiting for my second short film. It's ready and doing the rounds in the festival circuit. It is called Aaz which is an Urdu word for lustful greed like the highest, the most debaucherous, one of the most destructive forms of greed. So, it's something like a very Bombay gangster film but it's also offbeat and quirky. It explores the shades and colours of power and how we all want to hold on to it. My third film after that, which is right now in post-production is a really nice young chilled-out comedy.