Short films are definitely back in vogue. After Sujoy Ghosh’s thrilling bite-sized sexy-babe-meets-live-dolls affair, Devashish Makhija has come up with a chilling story about…well, we should not give that away. The film has been produced by Terribly Tiny Talkies. Have you seen their other short films, including Makhija’s El’ayichi?
Shot on what looks like cellphone cameras and webcams, Makhija’s Agli Baar makes a strong statement about society’s apathy towards problems that do not necessarily affect them. We remain silent when we are not being harmed and often scoff those who are passionate about a cause that does not involve them. While on the surface, it is a thriller, the sub text – what if you are next on the list? Who will stand up for you? Why should they stand up for you when you did not stand up for them? – is what makes the seven-minute story an interesting watch.
Agli Baar is titled ‘And then they came for me’ in English, borrowing from Pastor Martin Niemöller’s famous poem “First they came…” When asked about the treatment and style of the film, Makhija says: “I needed the viewer to feel involved and hence implicated. This could only happen if I broke the fourth wall – if I made the characters look at the viewer, so the viewer became the spoken to/the helpless onlooker and also, the next victim. The chain of apathy would then be complete. Only the webcam and mobile cam allow that, because we look at these cameras when we communicate.” Known for his socio-political screenplays, Makhija is best known for the critically-acclaimed feature Oonga, starring Seema Biswas and Nandita Das.