Owe it to the changing taste of cinegoers today that cinema halls, especially multiplexes, are taking the initiative to give chance to art house, shorts and unconventional films to see the light of the day. And maybe it's that gateway or the recent success of Bombay Talkies that's made Anurag Kashyap confident enough to present yet another amalgam of short films under the title Shorts. But being a little more art house and non-commercial, would these shorts receive warm response? One can only wait and watch. Meanwhile a quick review to help you decide.
An ensemble of five short films Sujata, The Epilogue, Audacity, Mehfuz and Shor starts off with the Huma Qureshi starrer Sujata directed by Shlok Sharma. The film traces the journey of Sujata (Huma Qureshi) as she grows up under years of physical abuse at the hands of her cousin to reach the hilt of frustration. After repeated efforts to seek help going in vain, Sujata finally takes the task in her hand to bring the atrocity to an end once and for all.
The second turns out to be Richa Chadha starrer The Epilogue. Directed by Siddharth Gupt, this silent film depicts the mercurial and volatile love of a woman (Richa Chadha) for her lover.
Follows up is Anirban Roy's Bong based film Audacity. The film showcases an audacious young rebel who teaches her father a lesson for messing up with her life.
Fourth up comes Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer Mehfuz helmed by Rohit Pandey. The film is about finding love in a hopeless place.
The last one and the best of the lot is Neeraj Ghaywan's Shor. The film is about a couple from Banaras (North India), consumed by their pursuit to survive in the seedy ghettos of Mumbai city. While the husband has lost his job and ambles about hopelessly searching for a way out. The wife takes up tailoring to make ends meet, losing touch with her emotions, and almost turning into a machine herself. One day they truly find each other while embracing death, divorce and redemption, all just over a phone call.
The anthology of 5 films, Shorts, comes out to be too ambitious a project to weave together films that are far narrower in appeal than even some of the art house movies that make it to the theaters. Under the garb of being too experimental or metaphorical, the filmmakers carve out scripts that end up being garbled for the cinegoers.
Three out of the five films, Sujata, Audacity and Shor come out decent and deserve a watch. While Sujata has one of the strongest climaxes to be seen in recent times, it still lacks built up. Only if intercutting of 3-4 scenes of childhood and adulthood could be enough to build her angst. Audacity scores an ace in setting and performances. The storyline, though not pitch perfect, is still impressive. While the best among the rest, Shor excels in every department. Performances by Vineet Singh and Ratnabali Bhattacharjee are absolutely flawless.
The other two The Epilogue and Mehfuz start off interestingly but both films in a bid to become avant-garde end up turning bizarre and convoluted.
To sum it up, Shorts may certainly not be a film for the commoners but even for cine-buffs the film has its minor highs and major lows.