Das and Maskara co-founded CinePlay, which produces specially filmed versions of plays and screens them at cultural venues in Mumbai and Delhi. CinePlay has produced five plays so far and has 15 productions in the pipeline.
Cineplay was inspired by the high demand for tickets when Maskara and Das co-starred in their 2012 English play Between The Lines, which revolved around a lawyer couple who argue on opposite sides of a criminal trial.
"We had about 40 house full shows and had requests for another 30 or so performances but due to various logistical reasons, we couldn't do more shows," Maskara told The Hollywood Reporter. "That got me thinking about doing a specially filmed version of the play so that it could be shared with a wider audience... I never found them engaging since they were mostly recordings of a live performance for an audience. We wanted to do specially filmed versions with the right lighting and sound while still preserving the live experience."
Instead of screening at cinemas, CinePlay has hosted ticketed screenings at cultural venues including Mumbai's National Centre for the Performing Arts and Delhi's India Habitat Centre.
The venture also allows for the archiving of live performances, Maskara said. "Some of the works of India's most iconic theater talent has been lost to time," he told the Hollywood Reporter. "While the legacy of film talent is preserved due to the nature of the medium, that doesn't happen with theater which is where our archives can play an important role." The venture is expanding; Cineplay's content will be shown in the U.S. Sept. 13 at the Washington DC South Asian Film Festival, and CinePlay is also launching its own Video On Demand channel.
"We are aiming to establish a global platform instead of just being India-centric," Maskara told the Hollywood Reporter. "The idea is to license the CinePlay genre worldwide. I am keen for other countries to share their theater stories in any language (with subtitled versions) for a global audience."