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Chintu is a bit like meeting your childhood friend after a long time: Anubhav Anand on his short film

The short film is a reflection on urban life and the way in which its monotony often leaves one devoid of the emotions and beliefs that are central to one's being.

Sukhpreet Kahlon

Written, directed and edited by Anubhav Anand, the short film Chintu is an unusual story of a man who visits his abandoned family home after a long time and stumbles upon his favourite childhood stuffed toy.

Coming back to the house stirs up memories and the man pours his heart out to Chintu, taking the path of self-discovery as he puts his life in perspective, realizing the things that he has given up and how he has changed over the years. Chintu stars Annup Sonii as the sole actor in the film.

Anand has written and acted in the feature Perfect Mismatch (2009), starring Anupam Kher and Boman Irani, and produced and directed music videos. Chintu is his first short film and it was screened at the Dharamshala International Film Festival 2019 and the Rajasthan International Film Festival 2020.

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Speaking about the unusual subject for the short film, Anand said, “As a filmmaker, you are a storyteller and this [Chintu] is a very simple story. What we see today is that everything is too complicated with all kinds of effects... If you see a music video, it has some 20 shots, but in that whole process, the story is lost, and stories at the core are very simple.

"This is a very simple story about an individual and at some point we all realize that we are just running from one point to the other and missing out on so many things. In this ceaseless running around, we have forgotten our innocence. If we can revisit it somehow, like in the film he meets Chintu and realizes that that which you left behind is so important because it reminds you of who you are. We are always projecting who we are to the world, but who are you actually from the inside? That’s there in Chintu, the innocence.”

Although the trigger for the film came partly from some personal experiences, it is also based on Anand’s observations about contemporary life in the city, which often erodes the humanity of its inhabitants, leaving an empty shell behind.

“I always say that writers write what they know and every writer writes different things because their experiences are different," he said. "For me, coming up with this [Chintu] and just simple nuances of the character, where, for example, the character says that these days everyone orders their own food and eats alone... all those are real things that we see around us and we all know these things.

"I am a family person at the core, but I think we all forget that as we get caught up in chasing material things in life. Chintu is a bit like meeting your childhood friend after a long time, when you let your guard down and talk about old times and remember them. This is something of a reflection and it came naturally based on experiences and that which I saw around me, to try and go back to innocence and not be so manipulative."

As the film has just a single character, it all rested on the shoulders of actor Sonii, who came on board quite by accident. Anand recounted, “I was waiting for my feature film projects to take off and I had this concept for this film, Chintu. I read Annup’s tweet where he said, 'Hi, I have this particular month available where I am not shooting, if there is anybody with a role that they feel fits me in a short film, I would love to know about it.' It was such a nice and innocent tweet and I messaged him saying I would love to share something and sent him Chintu’s log line saying that if he finds it interesting, we’ll meet. He was excited about the character and there were no other restrictions stopping us. We met a few times and spoke about his take on the character, went back and forth a bit, and agreed upon it.”