Verdict: Beginning of a New Age in cinema.
It's true that one can value sound only after experiencing deafening silence, and this collection of short films – Shor Se Shuruaat shows you exactly that. It marks the 4th year of Hamaramovie's annual short film competition – Shuruaat, the theme being something as simple as 'Noise'. These short films are made by budding filmmakers who are chosen by seven acclaimed stalwarts – Mira Nair, Nagesh Kukunoor, Imtiaz Ali, Shyam Benegal, Sriram Raghavan, Zoya Akhtar and Homi Adajania.
Filmmakers have their own distinct styles when it comes to their movies, and there's generally an element that is considered to be the trademark. Each one of these shorts have a mild influence of the direction-style their presenters pursue. And when renowned names are associated with something, the result is bound to be a masterpiece. Let's have a look at them individually.
The pursuit of freedom from the chaos that resides within is what Azaad is all about. A father (Atul Kulkarni) who started writing because of his son, pursues the path of truth and nothing but the truth. The path being full of threats and attacks, leads to his death, and the birth of another Azaad in the pursuit of truth. The short film is a very subtle take on how one single incident can impact someone deeply. With amazing actors like Atul Kulkarni and Sakshi Tanwar, Rahul V Chittela retains the essence of Mira Nair's storytelling. It might make you wonder at how the theme was followed in the film- a simple yet impactful plot dealing with a noise that cannot be heard but only felt by those who are torn inside and are trying hard to mend those scars. It is a tribute to all those writers who had so much to express but yet were silenced.
Aamer's life is colorful and happy in its own way. He can touch things, look at people smiling at him, enjoy the fragrance of the flowers he sells and everything that peacefully surrounds him. The one thing missing is the voice of his mother that he can't hear because of his disability. This short film has a message for life – not everything that you lack in life is worth having. This is the reason why Aamer chooses silence over the noise that he was able to hear after wearing the hearing aids. The film will make you go through a series of emotions yet lacks any melodrama. Zoya Akhtar's slice of cinematic aesthetics could be seen in the colors and close-ups. The setting of the movie is like your everyday life yet has a story that you could hardly imagine.
A rather experimental take on the theme, Decibel takes you to a time which is probably a century ahead of today. A time when, it seems, producing sound over a set decibel level is illegal. It looks strange and confusing, yet keeps you hooked. The main character Lina (Rasika Dugal), who is striving for a deep natural sleep goes to the State Sleep Remedial Facility but remains helpless. A script that holds potential for a feature film somehow fails to explain all the elements of the time it has been set in. Whether intentional or not, it ends inconclusively and will leave you confused. The tone of the film sets a monotony that refers to the lives then. It's an open-ended tale, left for your interpretation, with a question- what if the noise today is going to lead to a life like that in the future?
To be mentored by a seven times National Award winner itself is a lifetime achievement. Hell O Hello is a portrayal of the advertising and marketing scenario in the world, where everyday you are bombarded with thousands of advertisements and where your conscience is manipulated by promotional offers and calls. The chaotic setting of the film is relatable for everyone regardless of their age, gender, or status. It deals with a customer and a couple of service providers, how they keep pestering him with unnecessary offers and services without even asking for basic information. It is exactly like you trying to avoid calls from your cellphone service provider and them trying to make their way. In the filming of the movie, setting and art you can see a different style of film-making, which subtly comes from the mentor. The twist in the end makes you ponder the hollowness of the advertising industry.
Dhwani is about a prisoner (Sanjay Mishra) who is to be hanged till death in a few days and has been living in solitary confinement from the past decade. Nagesh Kukunoor is known for his realistic cinema and brutal depiction of truth which can also be found in this short film by Supriya Sharma. The film very easily shows the emptiness in the lives of prisoners and the ray of hope that keeps them steady in a life that is worse than death. Sanjay Mishra plays a prisoner who doesn't crave freedom nor is he afraid of dying but his last wish is something beyond the limits of the prison. The film is shown in a way that even the viewers feel the clock ticking, and as the story progresses everything seems to end in vain, only for a twist that changes a lot.
Homi Adajania who is known for his fun way and the sense of intellectualism in film-making has presented this short – Yellow Tin Can Telephone. The story of two people with extraordinary disabilities, who find closure in each other's incompleteness. The film has been shot beautifully maintaining a balance with the unique and playful concept. A colorless life and couple of extra sensitive eardrums, make you realize how lacking something doesn't take the beauty away from life. The film set in the contrasting format tells you that even two incomplete elements can lead to a happily-ever-after story.
Shot in the North East, this film is also about the chaos of regrets that are contained in the mind of a girl called Mia. This is the only film out of the lot that makes music a part of the theme, which is ironic because music is an inseparable part of the Indian film industry. It is the story of a girl who has confined her life to a pair of earphones and songs. She tries to vacate the vacuum of frustration but her regrets hold her tight. Finally, she raps her way out of the monotony that her life has become. Imtiaz Ali's penchant for geographical exploration has been retained by Satish Raj Kasireddi. The characters of the movie also have a subtle likeness to those in an Imtiaz Ali movie. It is a beautiful depiction, once again.
A point that is common between all the short films apart from the theme is silence. In an attempt to show noise in a different way, each film ends up exploring the importance of silence. All seven films have their unique crafting that you don't see in mainstream commercial cinema. There will be so much more you will want to know about each film. It is an interesting anthology and a slice-of-life take on the theme. Shor Se Shuruaat is clearly the beginning of a new, more experimental age in Indian cinema.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Shor Se Shuruaat is a different take on cinema, unlike most of the movies released these days. You will witness seven different stories formed under the mentorship of seven stalwarts with one theme in common. Watch it if you want to see the possibilities, and scope of imagination that the art of filmmaking is about. Watch it if you want to witness seven different kinds of cinema at once, and get away from the monotony of mainstream masala movies. Your only regret will be that these are not stand-alone feature films.