Do we really need an occasion to devour short films? Just dive in!
Gayathrie Shankar is an underrated performer. Though she has starred in a handful of box office hits, she’s still not seen as a force to reckon with. In Paththini, she stars as a woman who suffers at the hands of her husband. It’s a short thriller that pretty much stays on the lines of predictability. There are no twists and turns, but Shankar makes you watch her nervous attempts at poisoning her husband without making it look egregious.
Can a newly married couple whisper sweet nothings into each other’s ears? They definitely can, but how do they do it when there are other people in the same house? Idaivelai is a gentle romantic comedy in which the wife and the husband try to steal little moments when they are sure that they’re away from the gaze of the older folks. The film ends with a hugely funny line which comes without a warning.
In recent years, many Indian dramas have been made on the subject of sexual harassment. While some films like the Hindi thriller Pink (2016) take place inside the courtrooms, some others approach the idea through the lens of vigilante justice. Kambalipoochi, however, in just about four minutes, sets up a conversation about harassment and leaves it at that. It doesn’t dig further, perhaps, owing to the length of the film.
Daro Mat is a great companion piece to the Malayalam movie The Great Indian Kitchen (2021). Here, you get a few glimpses of an arranged marriage where the woman and the man tie the knot after an astrologer matches their horoscopes. This short film doesn’t condemn patriarchal beliefs. Nevertheless, it gives the husband a little voice. He supports his wife subtly by telling her to focus on an upcoming exam that she’s been preparing for despite his mother’s cantankerous censures. But are such passive gestures enough in the long run?
Ini shakes up the arranged marriage setup a bit by not involving the parents of the interested parties – the man and the woman have scintillating conversations over a period of a day and learn about each other. The idea of love at first sight is also absent in this short. Their chats are underlined by their ability to give marriage a second shot – she’s a widow and he’s a divorcee. The shy glances don’t have much space to breathe here. But you still get a film that speaks a lot about love and compatibility.
Why Not is a sensitive take on the age gap between a heterosexual couple. The woman’s a decade and a half older than the man and this point becomes a bone of contention amongst them. Would it have been a teething problem if it were the other way around, too? Maybe, yes! But it’s important to acknowledge the fact that age gaps are pretty common in relationships. At the heart of it, Why Not has a simple knot and a simpler solution.
How do you make friends after you reach your twenties? Can your colleagues be your friends? Also, are the people you meet on social networking sites your real friends? In Thoovana Thumbigal, two people become chums during the first phase of the lockdown (2020). They trade smiles and songs without inhibitions and find themselves in the midst of a blossoming companionship. This is what a good short film can do – it can put a spin on the tried and tested man-woman relationship.