By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | December 21, 2017
Rating: 4.5 / 5
The essence: PaniPath is gut-wrenching as much as it is educative. It is also an eye-opener for anyone willing to step out of his or her comfort zone and begin making a change—A change for the underprivileged.
PaniPath: Mission Blue is a short film within the Jio Filmfare Short Film Awards. Directed by Jai Mehta, the film title has been creatively coined to give it a historic twist—The battle of Panipat!
And battle it is as Mehta cleverly exhibits, without so much of a fuss, the clear divide between the urban setup of the haves and have-nots.
In the same city she lives, Tejaswini Kolhapure works as a housemaid a few kilometers away. The irony is stark. There is water aplenty in the home she works in: Water to cook. Water to clean the floor. Water to drink. Water to bathe. Water to wash the clothes! She carries two bottles of water home only to find that her daughter went off to school without filling water at her home. Mehta skillfully displays her angst as she goes in search of water to cook before her abusive husband can come home for dinner.
Dinner served, mother requests the daughter, at around 10pm, to go and fetch water across the tracks since husband needs to have a bath. In between, husband finishes off his meal and angered at not finding water, wipes off his dirty hands on his wife’s clothes. Meanwhile, mother goes in search of her daughter as it has been over an hour now. What will the mother find? Various fears assail your mind, but what turns out to be the truth is something you were not expecting.
PaniPath is based on a true story that happened sometime in 2016. Watch the short film for its fantastic set design. Payal Ghose has scored 10/10 for her terrific projection of the setting while Piyush Puty with minimum lighting has shown us the emotional, physical and psychological darkness the poor live amongst us.
PaniPath is gut-wrenching as much as it is educative. It is also an eye-opener for anyone willing to step out of his or her comfort zone and begin making a change—A change for the underprivileged.
All the actors give a standout performance. Lateesha Dorik as the school-going daughter is on the ball with her performance as is also her bonding with her mother. Nagesh Bhosle comes in towards the fag end and you immediately want to reach out and strangle him. His performance evokes that response from you. Tejaswini Kolhapure is studied in her approach as the housemaid and the homemaker. Her makeover too is perfect. She performs her role without giving off a false note. Worker, mother, wife, neighbour… she catches the pulse of every character she portrays.
Even though the end leaves you shell-shocked, it is the scene in the kitchen, when the husband comes home from work, takes hold of the half-filled bottled water that the wife has managed to buy for cooking and everything else, plugs it to his mouth and drinks it off. Both, mother and daughter, look at each other and then at the monster who wipes it off till the last drop.
Watch this short film for its powerful performances and also the message!
Jio Filmfare Short Film Awards
Producer: Karma Features
Director: Jai Mehta
Star Cast: Tejaswini Kolhapure, Nagesh Bhosle, Lateesha Dorik