Chaar Cutting review: Short films get the short end of the stick
There are two sides to Chaar Cutting.
Indie cinema in India has always had it tough because theaters are mostly full of both Hindi and English commercial blockbusters. It’s bad enough that short filmmakers are rarely given any mileage in India and it’s worse that the general desi perception of an indie or a short film is, ‘but it doesn’t have a big star yaar.’ Chaar Cutting is a true blue indie film; an anthology comprising four short films. So from one angle, it is a minor triumph that this sort of a film received a theatrical release in India.
Unfortunately, this package defeats the purpose of its own existence, because none of the shorts are as memorable as you’d want them to be.
Manila Running, directed by Anuj Gulati, starts off the proceedings with a bang. A foreign tourist in Manila is looking for a place to stay and is constantly knee deep in danger. The film is as hilarious as it is unpredictable, juxtaposed to saucy, deep house music. It’s good entertainment, but falls short of rendering a satisfactory climax, despite being shot well and boasting of good acting performances. Gulati comes across as a director who may well be able to handle a bigger film with confidence. If there’s anything to truly love in Chaar Cutting, it’s this film.
Things take a depressing turn in Skin Deep by Hardik Mehta. A couple (Aditi Vasudev and Naveen Kasturia from Sulemani Keeda) attempt to have sex, but are constantly bothered by pesky foreskin. The boy then decides to take matters into his own hands by handing his manhood to a doctor’s hands. It’s a bit of a downer to know that the film is written by Vikram Motwane, because unlike the couple in the film, this is a passionate union of melodrama and contrivance. The climax feels like the filmmakers didn’t know how to resolve the issue at hand and ultimately, it becomes hard to figure out what the point of the film was.
With the third film, Bawdi, things really start to tank. We’re taken to a dusty Rajasthan (or was it Gujarat?) village where a cola factory becomes the object of scorn for water-starved villagers. Shoehorned in this is a father-son dynamic that feels forced and amateurish at best, and monotonous at worst. The pace is glacial and the imagery and camerawork doesn’t justify the indulgence. It did not help that the film that was shot on a smaller camera lens and so the images look pixelated on the big screen.
Chaar Cutting picks up momentarily in Vijayeta Kumar’s film Blouse, a lovely old-fashioned story also rendered in an old-fashioned style of filmmaking. A man traveling for work to another village promises his wife a new blouse from a famous tailor, but is in a fix when he forgets her measurements. His only solution is to look for a girl in the village similarly endowed as his wife. It’s a funny premise and works as a good-natured entertainer. There are, however, more than a couple of lapses in logic, which just make you snap out of the film’s world. There’s also some obvious overacting from the actress who plays the tailor’s wife, and it undoes the authenticity of the milieu.
Ultimately, Chaar Cutting isn’t what you want it to be, and it’s hard to escape the sensation of a wasted opportunity. It’s a wonderful start for Jammura of course, but hopefully the next iteration of this release would have much better films.
Updated Date: May 29, 2015 13:51 PM