Review Hindi

Ajanm review: Khushboo Upadhyay shines in this bleak, tragic tale

Release Date: 03 Oct 2019 / 21min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sonal Pandya

The actress’s restrained but fierce performance as Survi, an expectant coal-mine worker, stays with you.

The unsatisfactory lives of a couple, unmarried coal-mine workers with a young daughter, implode when one impetuous decision, taken after a fight, turns disastrous.

Survi, played by Khushboo Upadhyay, and her partner Mukhia, played by Ninad Mahajani, are complete opposites. She is more responsible while he seems to live in the moment. One night, they fight over the coming baby.

Survi is keen to find out if the fourth member of their small family will be a boy or a girl, and Mukhia, returning home after a few drinks, glosses over their troubles. Words are exchanged and he decides to rob their workplace for wire that will get them some quick cash.

Instead, the act seals their future definitely. The 21-minute short film, co-directed by Ajay Garala and Vinit Chandrasekharan, offers a bleak, tragic look at the lives of daily-wage workers. The co-directors have penned the rural story with Manish Shetty.

Upadhyay infuses her performance with fierceness and a lingering sense of regret after a moment of greed. Even in her desperation, Survi can't forget about her current troubles and acts in a manner that may seem callous but is necessary for her survival. Survi and what remains of her fate will stay with you long afterwards. Mahajani, in a shorter role, is also impactful.

The most striking aspect of the short film is the cinematography by Dezvyn Douglas Tinwalla. The shot compositions tell us of the starkness of both the land and the people who inhabit it. At one point, Survi is seen through a grille, hinting at how trapped she feels in her surroundings. Furthermore, the mostly static camera observes the action from afar, giving a fuller picture of the story.

The ending song, composed by Advait Nemlekar and rendered by Harshdeep Kaur, is memorable.

Ajanm gives us but a sneak peek into the lives of marginalized workers; the reality must be so much harsher. The short film, released last month, can be streamed online at Hamara Movies YouTube channel.


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