8 Indian short films to be screened | Ajyal Film Festival 2019
* Selection of 8 Indian short films testament to country’s vibrant movie-making heritage
George Julius Williams | Consulting Editor
DOHA: The ongoing Doha Film Institute’s Ajyal Film Festival 2019 themed under the caption ‘Find Film Find Life’ brings together people of all ages together to celebrate local, regional and international films for six days in its latest edition.
The ‘Made in Qatar’ films remains, as in previous years, the highlight of this annual festival serving as a platform for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their work on a global stage and this year’s collection of 10 exciting shorts have underlined the ever-expanding influence of Qatar’s burgeoning film industry.
The current edition of Ajyal Film Fest 2019 in partnership with the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images (MAMI), also features a selection of 8 contemporary short films in the Made in India section to celebrate Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture.
These exciting shorts from up-and-coming Indian directors curated by the festival’s programme director Kalpana Nair, offer an insight into modern India and are a testament to the country’s vibrant filmmaking heritage.
The 8 short films to be screened are:
Grandfather (Hindi/Nepali/11 mins)
Life comes to shattering standstill for a little girl when she loses her “Baaje” (grandfather). Heartbroken, she finds some comfort in her grandfather’s old cupboard with which she plays in regularly. Shot in Nepal, ‘Baaje’ is a film about love, friendship and the everlasting companionship of two soul mates. Through the inseparable bond between a grandfather and his granddaughter, we see the permanence of love undeterred by the impermanence of the physical.
Directors: Umashankar Nair, Gaiti Siddiqui
Cast: Mekha Bhadur Rai, Maisha Pun Thapa, Priyanka Sangroula, Arun Chetri.
Hey Ram! (Hindi/5 mins)
A taxi driver laments the use of mobile phones as he believes they drive a wedge between people and prevent them from communicating face-to-face. His passenger takes the hint, and the two begin to converse about life. But suddenly their journey comes to a halt when a makeshift roadblock stops the pair and begins questioning them. Inspired by actual events, ‘Hey Ram’ is an example of what happens when differences in faiths and beliefs are used as a basis for persecution.
Director: Yashwardhan Goswami
Cast: Nishikant Dixit, Kushzraj Mehra, Karan Parwani, Dawood, Shreyash Srivastava
The Though of You (English/5 mins)
“K” and her husband are enjoying a party at their mutual friend’s house when events take a dark turn. Evidently suspicious of her partner’s behaviour, and maybe with good reason, K abruptly asks to leave. Continuing their argument on the drive home, the couple’s heated fight leads to disaster when K accidentally veers from the road and collides with a tree. A tragic series of events, the film explores the notion of ethics, trust and the ultimate consequences of our actions.
Director: Ahmed Roy
Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Gulshan Devaiah, Monica Dogra, Dhruv Dave, Manoi Balvani, Anagha Joshi
Mother Promise (Hindi//Marathi/5 mins)
During a cricket match, Soham’s mischievous cousin casually swears on his mother’s life to support a spurious claim that he was not bowled out. Taking this to heart and mind, naive young Soham experiences an early-life crisis as he is racked with concern for his beloved aunt’s safety. Not letting her out of his sight for the entire visit, Soham’s selfless compassion is truly endearing in this sweet little tale of superstition and childhood innocence.
Director/Screen writer: Gautam Vaze
Cast: Abhishek Bachhankar, Madhura Velankar, Rujuta Deshmukh
Steam (Hindi/5 mins)
‘Bhaap’ portrays the harsh reality of the subtle normalisation of patriarchy in the life of many women living in India. It puts us as an audience in the life of a middle-class housewife living in one of the endless small spaces of Mumbai. In a series of just seven frames, it not only captures the very mundane routine of the woman but also hints at a larger social issue that is persistent underneath. It puts us as an audience in the life of a middle-class housewife living in one of the endless small spaces of Mumbai. In a series of just seven frames, it not only captures the very mundane routine of the woman but also hints at a larger social issue that is persistent underneath.
Director: Harsh Hudda
Cast: Dibanisha Banerjee
Apna Apna Andaz (Hindi/5 mins)
Escaping from the hospital to see a much-anticipated film, a young man is utterly crestfallen to discover that his friend has lost their tickets when his wallet was stolen. The pair seek the help of the local police who track the thieves using the seat numbers, and a hilarious chase ensues in which the wallet is recovered. Inspired by a true story, this caper perfectly captures India’s obsession with cinema and the lengths some people will go to see their favourite film.
Director/Screenwriter: Avishkar Bharadwaj
Cast: Vir Hirani, Jayant Gadekar, Jayant Gadekar
Batti (Hindi/5 mins)
Batti, a ten-year-old boy, and his friend eke out a living by cleaning cars and selling books and trinkets on Mumbai’s local trains. It’s hard work, but the boys have a dream of a better life and the ambition to match. One day, Batti is challenged by an irksome passenger to read from one of his own books. What follows is a testament to his character—as well as a lesson for the passenger in not judging a book by its cover.
Director: Akshay Sarjerao Danavale
Vacancy (Hindi/5 mins)
Durgesh Kumar, a young candidate full of hope, is going for a very unusual kind of interview. There is a “vacancy”, but quite a lot of competition for it. Does he have the right credentials to get the position? A comedic take on Mumbai’s overcrowded train problem, ‘Vacancy’ is tongue-in-cheek extrapolation on what outlandish steps may have to be taken in the future to solve this real-world issue.
Director: Anurag Worlikar
Cast: Aasif Khan Uday Sabnis
The Made in India programme (viewers 18+) takes place today, Thursday, 21 November at 8.30 pm in the Katara Opera House(K16 – OH) and tickets are priced at QAR 35/- each.
For ticket purchase and up-to-date information on the festival, one can visit https://www.dohafilminstitute.com/filmfestival/ticketinformation
Image Credit: dohafilminstitute.com