55km/sec review: Richa Chadha, Mrinal Dutt stuck in a confused narrative
In her latest project, Arati Kadav (of Cargo fame) explores the subject of science fiction once again. Titled 55km/sec, the short film seeks to delve deep into the psyches of people when they realise that the end is near. It features Richa Chadha and Mrinal Dutt in lead roles.
The short film, through the lead character of Sooraj (Mrinal), takes us through the lives of people who lead lonely lives. The story takes us to the day when a meteorite is about to hit the earth and destroy everything. Richa plays Sooraj’s college friend whom he loved and proposes to her just minutes before the earth is meant to be destroyed. Both Mrinal and Richa do justice to their parts though Richa has little to do.
In Arati’s world, people do not go about looting or playing mean when the world is coming to an end. They are kind to each other, even if they are strangers. In one remarkable scene, Sooraj picks a few items from a local grocers’ shop and when he reaches the cash counter, he is asked to simply take what he needs. Much like her Netflix film Cargo, Arati has ensured human values survive.
And, while at it, the short film also has a touch of reality to make it totally relatable. The entire set-up of everyone holed up inside their homes, news channels questioning the government's inaction for an impending problem, and similar real-life situations. There is even a government lottery for people to be given access to bunkers where they can save themselves from the meteor attack. Nonetheless, these could have been simply about a scenario where people live alone, with better technology than we see around us as they prepare for an unprecedented scenario.
Unfortunately, Arati’s film does not quite leave a mark. If it was to be a love story, the romance and love come out too late to make an impression. If the focus was on sci-fi, not enough of imagination has been used and the set-up mostly looks like our surroundings during the pandemic-induced lockdown last year. Even the digs at the government and public reactions to such emergency situations, howsoever clever and sharp, do little to add to the narrative or build a particular mood for the film.
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