Another sublime indie (or a collection of indies) from the Anurag Kashyap banner, Shorts is a film comprising five short films titled Sujata, Epilogue, Audacity, Mehfuz and Shor.
Critics give the film a thumbs-up due to the performances and sheer intensity of what unfolds on screen.
"The good news is that indie short filmmakers are beginning to carve a niche for themselves in an industry that is dominated by Bollywood. The bad news, however, is that the five award-winning films included in Shorts range from breathtaking to borderline bizarre," writes Paloma Sharma for rediff.com.
Swati Deogire, however, points out in in.com that every 'progressive' film does not make the mark. She feels Shorts makes an exception for sure. "Even though such films claim to be more 'real' than their glamourous cousins, there is a reason why arbid close-ups and jarring editing attract only a select few viewers. But at 83 minutes with five short stories and a few known faces, Shorts is a damn good attempt to make this genre more acceptable."
Neha Prashar Gupta compliments the film for not having any songs "which is a good thing as the stories are so powerful that a music album would have acted as a hindrance in the plot."
"The movie being an Anurag Kashyap production has his trademarked realistic cinematography," Gupta adds in bollywood3.com.
Read on to know what the critics say about each short film in the collection.
Sujata by Shlok Sharma (Starring: Huma Qureshi, Shweta Tripathi, Satya Anand and Aditya Kumar)
Gangs of Wasseypur actor Huma Qureshi has done it yet again. In a de-glam role, the actress plays a victim of harassment at the hands of her cousin brother.
"Not only is the story crisp and exactly conveys what the filmmaker intends to but is enhanced by Huma Qureshi's brilliant performance. The story of a simple girl troubled by her brother can get tricky to pull off but director Shlok Sharma gives a cracker of a start to Shorts," notes Deogire.
Applauding the cinematography Sharma writes, "Narrow spaces and crumbling structures haunt the frames. However, the film does get a wee bit predictable towards the end. Director Shlok Sharma tells his tale with honesty and no fanfare, which is a refreshing change."
Epilogue by Siddharth Gupta (Starring: Richa Chaddha and Arjun Shrivastav)
This one seems to have confused critics. A film that traces a relationship not from its beginning, but towards its end, Epilogue attempts to reverse Bollywood's style.
"The documentary style camera movements looked unnecessary and distanced us from the plot by miles," writes Deogire.
Ironically, Sharma thinks that "the most commendable part of this short is its camerawork."
"The tight closeups convey the claustrophobia that the male protagonist feels due to his possessive lover - much like the ones from Anurag Kashyap's own That Girl In Yellow Boots."
"To me, Epilogue was weird yet wonderful (and yet) weird. I'd think a bit before stepping into the theater again for this one," she adds.
Okay, we're confused now.
Audacity by Anirban Roy (Starring: Preeti Singh, Sankar Debnath and Kanchan Mullick)
Audacity is about a young-girl's conflict with her father owing to the loud music she likes. A quirky Bengali film, Audacity was loved by the lot.
"A beautifully executed work of fiction, Audacity portrays the subtle nuances of thought that emerge when a young person clashes with an authoritative figure. Though the film is in Bengali, don't let the subtitles keep you from watching it," says Sharma.
"Audacity, resting squarely on the shoulders of its young heroine, just might be the best film of this anthology."
"The Bengali set-up and simple plot gets two thumbs up from us," writes Deogire, cheering the film.
Mehfuz by Rohit Pandey (Starring: Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Aditi Khanna)
Nawazuddin Siddiqui creates ripples wherever he goes. Playing a man who burns dead bodies for a living, Siddiqui portrays the invisible in Mehfuz.
"With almost no dialogues, Nawazuddin Siddiqui tells the story better than words could ever sum up. Although the climax is a predictable one, Mehfuz is a journey that should not be entered into merely for reaching the destination," Paloma Sharma writes.
Shor by Neeraj Ghaywan (Starring: Vineet Singh and Ratnabali Bhattacharjee)
Shor is about a couple from Varanasi trying to survive in the Maximum City. Critics appreciated the duo's performance.
"While Vineet's desperation during the last sequence of the film when he is stuck between railway tracks looks authentic; Ratnabali Bhattacharjee who plays his wife Meena is extraordinary," writes Deogire.
Pointing out how Shor is a film many can identify with, Sharma writes, "Torn between dreams and survival, Shor could easily be the story of one of the millions of nameless, faceless couples trying to make their marriage work in trying times."
All in all, Shorts is worth a watch for those who wish to engage in good cinema over the weekend.
Or as Neha Gupta puts it, "It is not a film where you can just leave your brains at home."
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