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Review Hindi

Bittu review: Poignant film about the loss of friendship

Release Date: 2021 / 17min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Karishma Dev Dube’s short film won the Silver medal in the Narrative (Domestic Film Schools) category at the 47th Student Academy Awards 2020.

Inspired by a real incident of accidental poisoning that took place in a government school in Bihar, Karishma Dev Dube’s short film Bittu follows a headstrong girl, Bittu, whose life is changed irrevocably in an instant.

Bittu is an unkempt girl who is friends with Chand. Together, they sing songs, play and dance. Best friends in crime, they also sing trashy songs for bystanders to make a quick buck.

But Bittu isn’t so smart at school and when Chand joins the other students in laughing at her lack of knowledge, she cannot control her anger and hits back.

Bittu is punished by the principal but refuses to listen to her teacher and apologize for her behaviour. And then, a seemingly ordinary day turns tragic.

Bittu stands out from the rest of the children with her stubborn and feisty nature. She is a performer who enjoys dancing to film songs but finds herself at sea in the ordered, controlled space of the classroom. With close-up shots, Dube creates the insulated, close-knit world of the girls as well as the rebellious nature of her protagonist.

The story is set in a village in the hills and the setting becomes witness to a tragic incident. The performances of the children are the strength of the film, especially the free-spirited character of Bittu. The colour palette foreshadows the impending gloom and reflects the tone of the film, while the cinematography captures the gloominess of the isolated landscape, contrasting it with the vivaciousness of the two girls.

Bittu is Dube's thesis film. It won the Silver medal in the Narrative (Domestic Film Schools) category at the Student Academy Awards 2020. The film is eligible to compete in the Best Live Action Short Film category at the Academy awards.

Bittu was screened at the Dharamshala International Film Festival 2020 and is being screened at the 19th Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles, on from 20–27 May 2021.


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