Films have been a major part of India’s culture and entertainment for many years. When we think of Indian films, an image of a hero fighting a villain immediately colours our imagination. But Indian cinema is a lot more than that; it’s sensitive, inspiring and honest. It’s a sad reality that Indian short films are not given the same respect as a feature film in our country. However, these films have created a mark for our culture around the globe. Brown has found a few beautiful Indian short films that will make you feel a lot differently about our country’s cinematic capabilities.
Aai Shapat (2017) | Marathi – Gautam Vaze
Swearing on someone’s life is like an Indian version of a lie detector. In India, there lives a myth that when you swear on a lie, the person dies. The film explores the story of a young, innocent child who believes in this myth and is afraid of his aunt’s life. A heart-warming funny short that captures the innocence and irrational concerns of childhood, this award-winning short is a gem that’ll amuse and touch you, both at the same time.
Mahotu (2018) |Gujrati – Vijaygiri Bava
The 23-minute-long film talks about our society’s fight against patriarchy and male toxicity. The story of a mother who cries herself to sleep every night thinking about the sufferings of her daughter. She feels that she couldn’t do anything to save her from the domestic abuse she faces in her husband’s home. A saleswoman who roamed around the village selling bangles explained it to her that, one has to protect their kid’s destiny and not leave it on god and society. The cinematography and storytelling will make you feel that you are watching a big banner feature film.
The Day After Every Day (2013) | Hindi – Anurag Kashyap
This short film reflects a day that most women have lived at some point in time. Three women on their way to work experiencing male gaze, non-consensual physical advances, catcalling and eve-teasing. The message of the film not only reflects on the horrible culture that exists in our society but also how badass women can be when their honour is violated. The film doesn’t have any long dialogues, but the actors have used facial expression brilliantly to tell their stories.
Pallotty (2017) | Malayalam – Jithin Raj
Childhood is the most fulfilling and happy time in anyone’s life. This short film will remind you of that fun phase and the friendships you had along the way. Two kids living in a small village of Kerala have beautifully discovered love. Their friendship is not based on materialistic things but happiness and emotions. The movie beautifully captures the scenic greens of Kerala and the simplicity of the people living there.
The Gatekeeper (2018) | Hindi – Atanu Mukherjee
The short film revolves around the day of an old man who spends his life in monotony. His schedule revolves around the train’s time table. The film doesn’t have any spoken words; all there is to fill the silence is the background score and ambient sounds. The 14-minute long movie made me feel empathetic and privileged at the same time. People often believe that food and shelter are all that a human need to survive, but the film makes you realize there’s more.
Afterglow (2014) | Multilingual – Kaushal Oza
A non-melodramatic exploration of death and grief is portrayed in this short film, beautifully. The FTII-produced movie explores the events in the life of a Parsi woman whose terminally-ill husband had recently passed away from liver disease. Instead of letting traditions and opinions of others get in her way of grieving, she takes her time and remembers memories from their time together. The film is sad, but it still gives you moments of a smile to keep your emotions moving. The filmmaker has done an excellent job to assure that the film remains in your mind after it is over.
Debi |Bengali – Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury
Coming back home, is a great feeling. A prolonged return of a daughter on Durga Pooja is beautifully shown in this short film. The actors have done an amazing job of connecting with your emotions and finding a way to make you feel like you are a part of the film. The dialogues and screenplay take the intensity to another level. If you enjoy drama as a genre, this short film is for you.
The God Must Be Crazy (2015) |Telegu – Jayashankar
The film revolves around an interesting interview conducted by an all-knowing man. The interview seems to know all aspects of the man’s life, both personal and professional. The film leaves you with two questions- Is the interviewer God, as a seemingly perplexed protagonist comes to believe? And was this interview an introspection of human values that he has lost along the way?