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PARTNERS

© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest. All rights reserved.

FILM REVIEW

'PRAKSHALANA'
- Directed by Ram Katru -

Right from the beginning, Ram Katru’s film tries to underline the idea that out there, people are dogs who care only about themselves and are ready to jump and bite you every chance they got. The main goal of this short film is showing how accurately the nowadays society can be illustrated through the eyes of a cab driver, during a single night.

A young man, coming perhaps from a rural area, tries to start a new life in the city, in order to help his widow mother with money. His new job as a cab driver during nighttime is not easy and throughout his journey he will encounter different characters that will change his perception regarding nowadays society and life itself. He has to deal with clients that have sensible personalities and who are driven by different vices, but most of all he gets to witness from his driver seat many scenes that are happening in the urban nightscape. He seems not familiarized or too innocent for how the society works and how people behave and a key moment is when he tries to save a woman passenger from the man she was with. The driver is soon rebuked and given the line ’Did I tell you I need help? Every idiot wants to be a hero’ and, throughout this scene, we must say that the actors do a fervent job in interpreting their characters, as they seemed realistic and well fitted in the picture.

The transition of landscapes with the city during the day are not really necessary and seems to be put there just for the sake of filling some extra seconds. The sound design is good, excepting the fact that sometimes the music inserts are too different and start/finish too abruptly. The main feeling is of unbalance and it creates a chaotic atmosphere, not knowing what to feel or to expect. As for the room tone, it is also too simple, lacking of real atmospheric sound.

The leitmotif of the fire is placed quite interestingly. Starting with a child’s cry in the background, then two adults moaning and the same two arguing in the end, the man being drunk and threatening his family life. It is a nice touch and it helps in comprehending the story. It also has the role of purifying and wiping the past like a catalyst, especially in the final scene.

In the last dialogue with his incognito client, which can also be considered the last drop of patience and understanding on behalf of the driver, he asks his client why everybody nowadays has to swindle, steal, rob, rape or murder. Why can’t people live otherwise? So, the thief tells the driver to look around and see who lives righteously. This being said, it feels like a truth that is hard to accept. However, the driver is still not convinced by the argument and finally tells him that ’Every crime has its pay. Sooner or later.’

The end finds us wondering whether appearances are what they seem to be and if we are all capable of doing wrong things because of the way the human nature is designed. Or if society is the one altering our being despite our better judgement.

We really liked the storytelling style of Ram Katru and we definitely appreciated how the director managed to tell his powerful story starting from an apparently simple premise, by speculating the brutal honesty concerning human nature.