Short is in! Short films are slowly gaining popularity among Indian audiences. They are regaling viewers with their short but dynamic stories. With their crisp and light-hearted storytelling, they seem to be providing great entertainment. But what most people are unaware of is that there are some hard-hitting short films too. These films deal with issues that are mostly ignored by mainstream Indian cinema. The treatment of these subjects is also unconventional and remarkable. Here, we profile some of these unorthodox short films made by Indian directors
What would you do if you have to buy oxygen to breathe? How do you cope with life if it becomes a commodity? What if sometime tomorrow, we are surrounded by an ‘oxygen mafia’? If these questions seem far-fetched, watch Carbon. This short film, starring Jackky Bhagnani, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Prachi Desai, is set in a dystopian world in the future. The characters are as intriguing as the film’s premise. There is an oxygen smuggler, a Martian, a human robot, and a protagonist with an artificial heart. The future is bleak, dark, gloomy and… disturbing!
2. Urmi’s cat
A young girl is a victim of child sexual abuse. She was violated by someone trusted. Past incidents have created a whirl of emotions in her – pain, outrage, anger, despair, loneliness, mistrust. As she struggles to reconcile with her emotions, her past comes back to haunt her. Will she be able to reach out to her present and exorcise the ghosts of the past? Urmi’s cat/Mr Spock will haunt you long after you’ve finished watching. ‘No animals were harmed in the making of this film’ reads the disclaimer before the movie. It should have read: ‘The ‘animals’ in this film will pierce your soul'
3. That day after everyday
With eve-teasing in the foreground, this film deals with gender stereotypes. Directed by the mercurial Anurag Kashyap, it stars Radhika Apte and Sandhya Mridul. Subtly, it also shreds the myth that women are the weaker sex. True to his trademark style, Kashyap uses darkness, commotion and silence to drive home the message. Even the dialogues speak more than the words used. ‘Cheeni kitni leti ho tum chai mein?’ never had a more nuanced meaning. Pure Kashyapesque brilliance!
In 1984, two Sikh bodyguards assassinated Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. This sparked off anti-Sikh riots across the country. Kush, the only Sikh boy in his class, is returning with his classmates from a picnic when violence erupts in the area. The teacher’s attempt to save Kush from the rioters’ ire forms the crux of the story. Based on a true incident, it is a poignant tale of humanity fighting hate. It’s bound to leave you with a lump in your throat. Shayaan Sameer is excellent as Kush. Watch him speak a lot… with his eyes
5. Naughty Amelia Jane
Naughty Amelia Jane is an innocent portrayal of a subject surrounded by tremendous misinformation. It deals with same-sex relationships, albeit in a refreshing way. Cleverly, it uses satire to expose the hypocrisy and ignorance of society in dealing with the LGBT community. Through the story of two young girls, it tears into ill-informed notions about the ’conventional social order of things’. The best part of the film is that it doesn’t make you squirm in your seat when watching it with your parents or kids. There is one hitch while watching it with your kids though. You may not have an answer to their simple and innocent questions!