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© 2016 by Bucharest ShortCut CineFest. All rights reserved.

FILM REVIEW

'THIRU. GANGAI'
- Directed by Arudra Saravanakumar -

This 3-minute short illustrates an educational message through a dynamic story, with a touch of humor.

Thiru is an Indian delivery man who rushes on his scooter around town, indifferent to the traffic laws. He answers his phone, makes calls and drives carelessly. At the end of the day, he suffers an accident. He is saved by a transgender beggar whom he previously gave money to.

Though the storyline is comprehensible, a clarification is necessary for foreign audiences.  In India, the transgender community is stigmatized and feared, being refused schooling, jobs, and access to many institutions and services. This phenomenon led to increasing numbers of transgender beggars, that ask for money in return for not cursing people, as they are considered to bring bad luck. That explains why the character in this films stops Tiru to obtain money and why later, after donating blood, she pleads for her acceptance. The situation is not common in other countries, so we felt the need of a more relevant introduction of this character.

The plot is compressed and the educational purpose of this film takes precedence over its artistic quality. The ending shows a changed Thiru, who starts wearing a helmet and stops using the phone while driving. The resolution is amusing: the local policeman sets a panel at the place of the accident to inform drivers about the dangers of using the mobile while in traffic, which contains a picture of the previously irresponsible Thiru, caught by a surveillance camera talking on the phone while driving his scooter.

The tragicomical style of this film draws attention to the subject of so many awareness campaigns: negligence while driving. However, this is a highly idealized story, where every character is positive and caring, and therefore not really reliable. The disadvantage of this choice is minimizing the cause; in real life ignoring traffic signs is penalized with fines and prison time, not with didactic panels featuring your picture. While we understand the need to raise awareness in a friendly way, we feel that the seriousness of the matter is played down.

Regarding the visual style, the film is mostly coherent and qualitative. The low angle medium shots filmed with a vehicle-attached camera show the character’s exhaustion and also transmit the audience the atmosphere of the busy city traffic. The editing mixes gracefully the diverse shots, but the emotional loud ending music piece is unnecessary.

Altogether, this is an unpretentious short that manages to include an instructional message in a creative and entertaining way.