Mumbai, 22 Jun 2020 0:08 IST
Despite its short duration, Dots, directed by Shilpa Krishnan Shukla, addresses with sincerity various issues like the societal taboo around LGBTQ people, moving on in a relationship, and coming to terms with the loss of a loved one.
Getting through two-and-a-half months of the countrywide lockdown was hard for most people, but it was harder for those living alone. Not having anyone to talk to can be detrimental to mental health if one is in an emotionally vulnerable state. Filmmaker Shilpa Krishnan Shukla explores this very thread with her next feature, Dots.
Shukla smartly uses the setting of the lockdown as a story device. The film is about 10 people who are emotionally vulnerable and don't have anyone to talk to in this period. They sign up for an app that promises to connect the user with complete strangers for two hours. It's not a dating app, so you can get connected with anyone irrespective of sex or age.
These 10 strangers are looking to fill the void in their lives which has been worsened by the lockdown. Someone is going through a divorce while someone else is mourning the loss of a loved one. Yet another is looking for a friend while a fourth is looking for a relationship. They get matched according to the preferences they had specified while signing up for the app.
The 95-minute film gradually introduces us to each of these five couples and takes us through the conversations as they talk about their personal and professional lives and their tragedies. The first couple is Karuna (Ahaana Krishna) and Aditya (Sai Pogaru). Of the five couples, their segment is the least emotional, but we don't mean that in a negative way. Aditya is from Mumbai while Karuna lives in Singapore. They instantly hit it off and discuss past dating experiences and their views on relationships.
The second couple are Saira (Parna Pethe) and Vaibhav (Raghav Ranganathan). Vaibhav is from the LGBTQ community and has mastered the art of hiding his pain behind bis charming smile.
There is an elderly couple played by Shishir Sharma and Suman Nagarkar and long-lost college friends played by Lalit Prabhakar and Aishwarya Kumar who are accidentally matched on the app. They also reminisce about their college days and missed opportunities.
The last couple is played by Aparna Pradeep and Saran Jith. Rohini (Aparna Pradeep) is a socially awkward and introverted young woman while Charuvikraman (Saran Jith) is a little more outspoken and is into art.
Each conversation starts on a lighter note as each couple talk about their interests and their reasons for signing up for the app . Then, slowly, the conversation gets more intense as they reveal more personal stuff such as their regrets, their ambitions, and their relationship experiences.
Shilpa Krishnan Shukla, who is also the writer of the film, has done a really good job with the characterizations. Each person has distinct characteristics and opinions. The conversations are also very realistic and each artiste has done a fantastic job.
Shukla mentioned at the post-screening interaction session that all the artistes had to act as if they were talking to someone when, in reality, they were speaking to blank screens. But you would never guess that while watching the film. All of them have performed excellently, delivering long takes of up to three minutes in the most believable manner.
Dots is a multilingual film with dialogues in Hindi, English and Malayalam which play a crucial role in making the film realistic. We only get to know these characters through their conversations and if any of them had had filmi dialogues it would have looked so very out of place. But with its interesting characters and their realistic and engaging conversations, this rare experimental film holds your attention from start to finish.
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