Shorts

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)

quick review:

A different experience that is worth encouraging one and all to have, but...

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Running time: 85 minutes
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I like watching short films. The well-made ones are intense and always amaze me at how quickly they suck you in with their story, characters, etc. With Anurag Kashyap behind these short films, I am looking forward to it unconditionally, yet very neutrally. Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Richa Chadda, and Huma Qureshi in the cast of at least one film (maybe one each), guarantee awesome performances. As far as the rest of the anticipation goes, I am very surprisingly unmoved, in a good way.

I haven't watched the trailers and don't even intend to. I guess, I want to be surprised.

- meeta, a part of the audience

There is something very fascinating about a short film. Within a few minutes, usually about one-fourth the length of a feature film, it is made to create a world, develop characters, present and resolve a conflict and see through the beginning, middle and end. Each of the five films that makes Shorts, is unique in the way it goes about its business. However, there are things that you might not understand and make you feel that you needed more time with the film. There are other times when the abstract treatment could get annoying. In either case, it is still an effort that definitely needs encouragement.

There are a few things that are absolutely great across the board. Performances are just outstanding in each of the films. Even if its tempting to name a few of the known faces, It would be unfair to just point those out as great acts. They are very rooted and set in real life, except for maybe the second film, The Epilogue which needs histrionics because of the abstract treatment it carries.

Similarly each of the films also creates a universe best fitted for its concept/theme. The ambiance is pitch perfect and most interestingly, even though each one is different from the other, it is easy enough to move from one to the other without feeling uprooted from the previous one.

Dialogue is, in general, sparse, except for Audacity which needs the chaos that it generates. I think that is the beauty of dialogue writing, you need to know when not to have characters speak. It gives so much more room for the rest of the crew from the director and actors to the camera and music departments.

Most enticing of them all are the concepts picked by each writer/director and the combination that makes for the feature length film. Let's take a brief look at each one. For a detailed look, you have watch the film, of course.

Sujata by Shlok Sharma A girl is abused by her cousin from her childhood till present time where she's a grown woman. Sujata does get you rooting for its protagonist even though you barely know her. Unfortunately, that also becomes its handicap. To continue feeling her angst and being with her through her struggle, you are not offered much of a backstory. How justified is her anger towards the cousin? Do you endorse all her actions? While I am all for unanswered questions in films, this one made me uncomfortable.

The Epilogue by Siddharth Gupt Fear. How do you deal with it? Maybe, the only way to face fear, is to ignore it. After all, it is like an beautiful woman who throws tantrum to get your attention. And maybe there is only one way to deal with her. Or maybe it is just a claustrophobic relationship story that needs to get its closure. That is the beauty of The Epilogue, it is open to interpretation.

Audacity by Anirban Roy The mind of a teenager. An already confused one. And then it has to face the perplexing and thus, frustrating double standards of parents. These standards or lack thereof do not allow the adults to take responsibility of their contribution to their child's misbehaviour. This child then decides to teach them a lesson. Is the child right in behaving so? Are the parents doing the right thing? This Bengali (with English subtitles) short, Audacity doesn't take sides and tells us that just maybe everyone is responsible in the said situation and you would only go around in circles if you played the blame game.

Mehfuz by Rohit Pandey Mehfuz is more to me about the mood it creates with its camera work and sound design than about what it is trying to say. With such films, you do not go about looking for meaning or deeper meaning. Its morbid and looks at morbidity in the eye. It goes on to confirm, even a cold graveyard worker cannot really get used to death.

Shor by Neeraj Ghaywan Nothing like the sounds of Mumbai to make a movie called Shor. That it also points at the internal chaos each one of us faces, is of course, of larger significance. Most of our struggle is a lot about the one major relationship in our life and how dissatisfactory it is. It has never stopped amazing me that, the most important relationship of our life is the one we mistreat the most. And yet, life offers us a chance once in a while to set things right. Shor too creates just the right tone for what it has to say.

~ ~ ~

Each of the films has something going for it and takes a very serious look at one aspect of life or the other. Which brings me to the one question I've had about short films in general. Why do they have to be so serious? Does comedy need a bigger canvas?

Even so, you cannot deny that this "different" experience is a welcome change. In the last 5-7 years, only every second or third year, have we had one feature length film which is only a collection of short films. It is really heartening to see two such films this year. I imagine a time, hopefully not to far away, when not only such films will be the norm, but also when a feature film will be preceded or followed by a short film which will be worth coming early or waiting for. More power to the brave souls who have taken the first step towards making this happen.

- meeta, a part of the audience

12 reviewers(?) - 5 yays 7 so-so 0 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Bikas Mishra, DearCinema : ...The beauty of SHORTS lies in the diversity. Each of the five films is a precious little gem.... full review

Thumbs up, by Swati Deogiri, In.com : ...It might not be your idea of a weekend spent at the cinema, but 'SHORTS' has some good stories for those on a break from commercial chaos.... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubha Shetty-Saha, MiD DAY : ...a unique experiment, which deserves an applause... full review

Thumbs up, by Paloma Sharma, Rediff : ...Shorts is a welcome change from the usual Friday fare but it isn't quite there yet. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...A rare treat!... full review

So-So, by Khalid Mohamed, Deccan Chronicle : ...Short but never sweet, Kashyap’s showcase in sum leaves you wanting.... full review

So-So, by Johnson Thomas, Free Press Journal : ...A melange of five unique, well crafted films... full review

So-So, by Nandini Ramnath, Live Mint : ...Despite the realism, grittiness and seriousness on display, four of the five stories aim for poignant and uplifting conclusions that undermine their impact... full review

So-So, by Jaidev Hemmady, Movie Talkies : ...Every story is touching in its own way and fans of short films genre might enjoy the Anurag Kashyap product...... full review

So-So, by Mansha Rastogi, Now Running.com : ...Shorts may certainly not be a film for the commoners but even for cine-buffs the film has its minor highs and major lows. ... full review

So-So, by Moumita Bhattacharjee, Star Blockbuster : ...While some seem increasingly close to the pseudo intellectual space, others make a mark.... full review

So-So, by Madhureeta Mukherjee, Times of India : ...is for lovers of pure art-house cinema... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

1 readers - 1 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Maneeb : 85

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Slaps. A person pours boiling oil on another person. Dead bodies.
  • Language: A few abusive words.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: No explicit sexual content. But some scenes subtly imply abuse.
  • Concept: Five different short stories, each with a different concept.
  • General Look and Feel: Very serious and grim.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

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Comments (4)

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I'll tell why I think short films are usually 'serious' and not too many shorts are comedies. No one makes short films because their goal in life is to make short films. Almost always, it is because they want to make features. When you make short films, you want to impress, so you are always looking at your comfort zone, what you know. And that usually means life. In some way or the other. And the only real 'comedy' we see in life is when friends get together or in situations that don't offer you a real 'story' or 'emotion' worthy of a film. Otherwise, there is very little that is funny in life. I mean, a serious issue can be dealt with in a funny manner, yes. But that usually can't happen in the time constraints of a short film. Features, almost always, are an escape. It is sheer poetic justice that short films almost always deal with issues that you want to escape from.

@Pradeep Hmmm...I think that's restricting the scope of short films.

"there is very little that is funny in life" - Ouch! That's cynical. And here I thought life was only funny :P

Maneeb

Neetu, I agree to whatever you wrote here, in general but the stories like Mehfuz and Epilogue may have a lot of different perceptions.
I loved your review.
How can I follow you on twitter?

@Maneeb the twitter handle for wogma is @wogma and mine is @meetumeetu

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