A couple of years ago, I watched a short film called Kramasha at a film festival. It’s an unusual work whose intriguing visuals and score have stayed with me ever since. Here’s the official description for this 22 minute film:
A small Indian village, a house, early morning; a family is sleeping. The boy is sleeping next to the window. He is asleep, yet awake. A mysterious man with a black coat comes every morning when everyone else is sleeping. The boy has seen him only in his dreams. In this state of conscious and unconscious, the boy hallucinates about the history of his mysterious sleepy village, childhood and nostalgia.
And here’s a scholarly analysis on why it’s really good. Unfortunately, the film is not available online save a 1 minute preview. The good news is that the preview is interesting enough to run a potentially engaging activity.
1. Play the preview without the visual. Ask Ss to close their eyes and listen to the sounds and imagine what kind of scenes might accompany these sounds.
2. Tell the Ss that this is from the beginning of a short film. Ask them to work with a partner to verbally create a scene to accompany these sounds i.e., describe the setting of the movie. Ss may restrict themselves to only what they heard. Encourage them to imagine what wasn’t recorded. If you hear a cat, a peacock, and monsoon clouds, what else might you hear?
3. Ss share their descriptions of the film’s setting.
4. Play the preview again this time allowing Ss to see the visual. Ask them to compare their description to the actual setting.
5. Explain that although there’s a setting, there’s something missing. Elicit that it needs characters. Get Ss to individually create a character to place in this setting; for lower level learners, provide prompts for character building (species, gender, height, hair, personality, etc.)
6. Ask Ss to share their characters with their partners. Do the two characters seem compatible? Why or why not? Would the story be more exciting if you had two mismatched characters?
7. Play the preview again. This time, ask the Ss to imagine their two characters in this scene. What happens next?
8. Have Ss put the three parts together as a short written story (setting, characters, and action).
9. As an after-class task, have all the pairs post their stories on a class blog or Facebook so everyone can read them. Alternatively, use the story they wrote in class to create a mobile video of the next minute of this film
The rest of the film, if it were available, could be a useful creative writing prompt for aspiring writers because it’s based on a non-linear folktale inspired narrative with magical realism and other unusual elements.