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Aarambh review: Intermingles fantasy, reality and a child’s curiosity in the exploration of death

Release Date: 26 Sep 2020 / 22min

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Sandeep Kumar Verma's debut short film won the Jury Award at the International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen, Germany.

 What happens after death? The question has engaged philosophers and thinkers for millennia, but how does a child understand this question?

Written and directed by Sandeep Kumar Verma, the short film Aarambh explores this question from the viewpoint of a boy Bablu (Sohan Joshi) who wonders what has happened to his grandfather after his death.

The film takes us to a remote village nestled in the mountains, a place that seems to be located out of time. Bablu contemplates the idea of death, as the passing of his grandfather makes him curious about the significance of the various rituals that follow.

The mother tries to explain the concept of death, the soul and the circle of life as the boy continues his search. His confusion is heightened as his friend’s realistic view runs counter to the mother’s vivid, mystical explanation while other people around offer their own perspectives.

Bablu's questions elicit some funny responses from his friend and at other times lead to encounters with strange, almost other worldly, characters.

Aarambh offers beautifully framed shots with panoramic views of the stunning landscape in its contemplation of the beginning of life and its end through nature and human life.

The film traverses the spaces of imagination, dream and fantasy as it intersects with the reality experienced by a child. The boy’s curiosity and imagination enable a journey that contemplates the cessation of life but also examines the various attitudes towards death, from myth making to the inevitable decay and turning to ash. 

As the protagonist, Sohan Joshi’s performance is consistent though there are a few scenes where the children’s actions and dialogues seem studied and stiff.

Gaurav Nagesh's cinematography is the film’s strong suit along with its ability to capture a child’s world and his surreal journey in the search for a larger philosophical question.

This debut film won the Jury Award at the International Short Film Festival, Oberhausen, Germany. You can view the short film on the OTT platform Cinemapreneur.

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