Mumbai, 29 Aug 2019 16:00 IST
Directed by Vaibhav Ghodeswar, the film explores the last moments of a suicidal farmer's life.
At a time when India is struggling with one of its worst agricultural crises, Cheers offers a stark look into the last moments of a farmer's life.
The short film works its way through a random day in the life of a distraught farmer in Vidarbha, and portrays the helplessness, the oppression, and the dystopian nature of society he lives in. While it is emotive, the short lacks a certain dramatic tension, and feels little loose in its story structure.
The first shot of the short film is that of Prakash Waghmare attempting suicide in front of his barren field. But for some reason, he never truly puts the rope around his neck. Soon, we cut to the sight of his friend, Santosh, trying to pull a pig out of the sarpanch's well. He decides to pull in Prakash for the job.
Tired of his own life, frustrated at the failing of his agriculture, Prakash pulls out the entire pig earning the money. But he refuses to accept the payment. Santosh hits up on the idea of using the money to drink. Except, he does not realise the darker implication of Prakash not wanting the money.
The film is well-acted, with sparse expressions that do not hinder the story. The dialogues capture the nuanced emotions with Prakash unwilling to let go of his secret but giving hints all over.
While the short does not delve too much into the life of the protagonist, it does structure his character, habits, family, and the situation well. In adding these layers, it manages to help create empathy for the character. However, this fails with the sudden climax that arrives.
Perhaps it is the long delay of the inevitable, or the predictable conclusion that dampens the experience. The absence of the family, or the impact the decision had on others, also reduces the shock to a certain level.
Maybe, that was the intention. After all, it is not just the destruction of agriculture or a family that always matters. Individuals do as well.
Despite that, this is a story that needed to be told.
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