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Podcasting in the times of Absence of Contact

Breakfast@Cinema has been working in the area of cinema literacy and helping cinema gain ground as a medium of learning and training since 2014. The idea to create a resource for parents and teachers had been around for a few years now, but as with the lockdown our regular work had to take a pause, we utilised the time to work on of some of these ideas which had been gestating for all this while. This has also been the time when families are spending time together and want to explore films together as a unit, and also find the time to have conversations around them afterwards. Cinema, My Child, and Me is for anyone who loves movies, really. But its format has been designed keeping in mind the kind of questions that have often been posed to us about what kind of films children should be exposed to.

At its core, it is meant to be a resource for anyone wishing to use it as a means of learning, or even being able to find an “in” into a conversation with children around seemingly difficult or sensitive topics. Each episode features one film around a specific theme, like empathy, interacting with the unknown, finding purpose, dealing with loss, the value of memories. It also elaborates upon additional themes in these films, some technical/cinematic aspects, leading questions for the grownups to use, and some other films which may also work well around the defining theme of the podcast's episode.

In our line of work, we travel to many different parts of the country and we noticed that across classes and exposure to education, people are in awe of cinema. But for the Hindi speaking people, in terms of access to material that can help them understand the medium, there is hardly anything. All they can find about cinema in popular media outlets are either simplistic reviews of films focussing only on the story and/or personal likes and dislikes of the reviewer, or celebrity gossip. We came up with the idea of Parda Paar Filmy Pyaar, moments after having released the first episode of our English podcast, Cinema, My Child, and Me. We have been in touch with so many people from our work in these places, but suddenly we realised we couldn’t share our podcast with them because they aren’t comfortable with English. We immediately set out to create something fun and informative for the Hindi-movie-loving and Hindi-speaking audience.

Our podcasts are a way for us to reach out to more people and create a larger audience who feel encouraged to explore the kind of cinema with which they can find a deep connection, and those who wish to use this abundant source of learning through us in an intensive manner.

People are so used to continuously watching content nowadays that only listening is becoming difficult for many. Even when people are listening to the radio, they are not paying complete attention to it. Constant movement in front of the eyes has become very important to the process of staying engaged. So, while we are in the area of cinema education, we deliberately picked a purely audio-based medium. It gives some rest to the eyes and allows the mind to reset and use only the ears for a change, which is what good and engaging radio content does.  

When blogs became popular, everyone had a blog. It is hard to find someone who doesn’t have at least one social media account where they express themselves or consume someone else’s expression for information or entertainment. Creating a YouTube channel to share views and opinions is also easy today. With the lockdown, thousands have started hosting live sessions on Instagram and Facebook, so the snide jokes about just about everyone starting a podcast seem unfair. It is a platform for expression and sharing thoughts. It is democratic. It is accessible and has massive potential today in a country like India. We want to be ready with content for when listeners come looking for it.

So give us a listen, and join the conversation.

- Abhinav

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