The Indian Short Film Comes Of Age
One of the very first of its kind Internet based film vehicles – Fliqvine and the Bangalore International Short Film Festival brought together an online short film festival, which showcased a great variety of Indian and International talent. And this very festival was testament to the rising Indian independent cinema culture.
From crime thrillers to enchanting, poetic dramas, no genre seems a stretch for the rising crew of India’s indie filmmakers who attempt storytelling with a stark, professional narrative while having their stories rise to pure qualitative levels. We look at all the Indian movies screened at the film festival.
Directed by: Karthik Shridharan
Glitch is a stylized, contemporary psychedelic thriller, that embraces elements of mind-altered illusion and horror to present a story, rather intriguing. When a condescending boyfriend finds himself in the midst of strange tremors and scary hallucinations, what follows is a fascinating hyper-reality track, that keeps you engaged throughout.
The movie is replete with interesting shot arrangements, right from twinning to handheld POV shots giving us a true insight into the lead character’s anguish. Furthermore, the movie’s rather interesting premise makes for a very compelling watch, as the movie leads into an equally interesting climax.
Directed by: Pallavi MD and Shamik Sen Gupta
One of America’s most favorite comedies, ‘Parks and Recreation’, shows a government servant fighting her bid to get more parks in her home town. In India, we continuously fight a different battle; that of at least striving for the minimum standards our kids deserve. Playgrounds, is too common a tale, that is spun into a realistic perspective of what our society is. Our kids run around in easy to hurt cement compounds for lack of greener pastures, and often this leads them into compromising situations.
No one really stands out as the bad person in Pallavi MD and Shamik Sen Gupta’s venture, except every adult who is so hardened by his/her circumstance, that there is no space for much empathy. An auto driver, dealing with his own family’s health and financial constraints, finds a little child asleep in his auto, who had actually chosen it as his hiding spot. What does he do?
Directed by: Pranav Harihar Sharma
Dealing with domestic violence in cinema can often take the clichéd route. Pranav Harihar Sharma not only does that by amiably limiting the screen time to the act itself, but also spins what becomes an incredibly enjoyable and stylistic revenge drama. There isn’t much brain in the covering up of the crime (that befits the actual crime, to be honest). But the way it is portrayed, with clear cut characters, slick cinematography and absence of drama makes it a rather worthwhile watch.
A special shoutout must be given for the incredibly powerful sound editing, that clearly bemoans technical precision.
Directed by: Raghav Bhotika
Pitstop plays across a smart paradigm, a movie within a movie idea that conveys a social problem much more effectively than preaching. As India is embracing foreign investment on the path of greater economic development, how many times do we take a step back to realise how we treat our women. That the country itself is relegated to the identity of a goddess makes matters even more perplexing.
Pitstop deals with the very issue several women have faced and continue to face in the country. The constraint from choosing one’s own partner. Or the trust to let them make their own life decisions. A sharp reflection of our times makes it a very engaging, moving story.
Directed by: Balajee K S
Crime-fighting has long been relegated to a cat and mouse chase that is infamous for not guaranteeing another tomorrow. It is this very uncertainty that brings a crime-fighting policeman in tune with his own misgivings. Balajee K S’ short film may be in Tamil, but boasts of a universality that we all know too well. That the life of a cop is hard enough, as we know it. But what happens when a cop takes a life lesson when he takes down a criminal.
By choosing an idea that is of global understanding, even while treating it with a strong Indian film sentiment makes watching Oru Iravu a facile experience. Special attention must be paid to the incredibly professional sound designing, akin to that of a feature film’s.
Directed by: Rajdip Ray
Rajdip Ray’s Crash starts on a fascinating note. We’re told an accident has happened, a hit and run case, and Ray is set out to interview several people who could have witnessed it. Each witness is dynamically individualistic, not just in how and what they witnessed, but their style of presenting what they saw or heard too. It’s interesting to note how each one has their own hypothesis of what may have happened; in one case an older gentleman attributing it to the increase in the number of nightclubs on the street of Southern Avenue where the incident took place.
The movie has a great shifting narrative that keeps it engrossing throughout. And a wonderful sound production that eases the process even further. Highly entertaining.
Directed by: Siddhartha Gigoo
Very rarely are movies set in Kashmir that explore its beauty realistically, as an added bonus to the background; than needlessly, over-emphasising on its pristine allurement. That is perhaps the first enticement the film has to offer. Its down to earth portrayal of the story.
Goodbye, Mayfly is a sensitive story of two entwined characters, set in the valleys of Kashmir. Its musically aided narrative boosts the quiescence of the region that is often almost portrayed differently. As two lives find themselves in the midst of their town’s ever changing political and social atmosphere, it is these very two lives that are at stake. Lyrically poignant, and genuinely heartfelt.
Directed by: Major Sajeev K V
One would think that espionage thrillers would be difficult to fit into a short film format. Except Major Sajeev K V makes this possible by not just doing, but by taking over the seemingly impossible task of adapting a William Somerset Maugham’s short story ‘The Man With The Scar’ to Indian sentimentality.
Ruffian is the story of a man, as told by the soldier to a man he meets at a seemingly incongruous bar. The Ruffian in question, is a leader of rebel forces, who, when tracked down by the security team, takes upon a step that makes for a theatrical twist in the tale. The story has always been a work of literary genius due to its sudden, detached climax. The Director ably gives it an Indian perspective, as it fits in easily with India’s fight with internal insurgency. The authenticity and the pumping, patriotic music used during the capture scenes are especially noteworthy.
Directed by: Kundan Roy, Priyashanker Ghosh
That we often take those who do our basic jobs for granted is what Umbrella strives to portray. When was the last time you spent 200-odd rupees on a singular dish, never quite realizing that some literally have only that much money to spend the entire month on. The city is an unforgiving cluster. It only aids the rich, while it milks the poor.
Kundan Roy and Priyashanker Ghosh weave a tale of a natural exchange between a food delivery boy, a migrant weighed down by his hardships, and a kind stranger willing to help the new boy find his address in the city. The conversation is aided by an air of tranquility and genuine, heartfelt performances by both the actors, creating a narration that tugs at your sensitive nerves. You will find yourself posing many an existential question.
Directed by: Subhajit Dasgupta
Chimes might seem like a tale of horror, the kind glamoured by several thrillers in Indian cinema; of which the keen indicators are doors and windows opening and shutting with urgency, a rush of wind, sudden cut shots. But the inherent theme of Chimes takes this superficial arrangement to a deeply engaging level, as it is the horror inside that one must abet, and not the one out of it.
Subhajit Dasgupta treats the elements of on-the-surface horror with genuine irony, and even an ever-present hint of humor. This, while the film’s narrator deftly handles the past in an interestingly intimate manner. A family of three goes house hunting only to find out that three very peculiar incidents have happened there. Is that a pattern or it is purely because people are turmoiled by change? A genuinely compelling satire, that makes for a better watch with the presence of recognizable actors in the cast.
Directed by: Anshuman Chakraborty
El Taxi is a legitimate trip. A music and psychological trip that keeps you prepossessed throughout, much like the protagonist, a taxi driver, whose nights seems predispositioned to be troubled by one girl. As an arrogant taxi driver spends several nights fleecing innocent passengers, he meets a girl who is hell bent on giving him the ride of a lifetime, literally.
This movie deserves genuine applause for how well it uses music to keep the viewer as engaged as possible. A special scene to this effect would be when he’s rushing in horror, and you can hear the police siren mish-mashed with some eclectic background music, keeping you anticipated of what’s in hold. A true psychotic thriller, without pretending to be more than that. Not to mention, very brilliantly acted by the titular actor. El Taxi is testament to how Bengali independent cinema almost always gets it right!
Directed by: Shashank Sogal
Patinga has the stylistic arrangement of a slick South Indian venture. The movie employs the use of stringent guitar riffs, glossy cut shots, and fast paced cinematography for action scenes, on par with a feature length professional movie.
And for a movie as sophisticatedly dedicated to being an out and out entertainer, the lead protagonist, Robin, is pretty much given superstar status. He’s aided by stylish montages, gracefully amped up background music and ample about of dialogues that helps his badassery. As a pizza delivery boy, who rides bikes in amateur races, he’s the central figure around which the movie ably revolves.
Directed by: Vaishnavi Sunder
The Catalyst is a true, heartwarming work of cinema regarding the perennial financial situation that haunts several people in our country. When the members of the lower strata find an overtly burdening fiscal situation tightening like a noose, must they follow the morals they’ve held on to for so long, or must they take the downtrodden path for some security? This idealistic battle forms the very crux of the story.
Vaishnavi Sunder achieves authenticity as she weaves a story around characters that pull at your emotional strings. The fact that you’re invested in how their story pans out is testament to how well she has spun an idea that is relatable to the very inherent path of India’s growth.
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