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Review Hindi

Cinestaan Curates: Maacher Jhol is an elegant film with delicate flavours

Release Date: 31 Jan 2017 / Rated: U/A / 12min

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

The short animation film is available for viewing for a limited period only courtesy the Dharamshala Film Festival’s Viewing Room.

Directed by Abhishek Verma, the animated short film Maacher Jhol aka The Fish Curry (2017), named for the quintessential dish in Bengali cuisine, is a unique story about coming out of the closet.

Lalit, a man not quite in his prime, decides to cook the Bengali staple. But this meal has special significance and requires extra attention as he has finally decided to come out to his father about his sexuality. Seeking the father’s approval and dreading the moment, Lalit concentrates on preparing a meal that his father would relish.

With each detail in the film carefully executed, Verma evokes the ordinariness of Lalit’s life which serves as a backdrop to the momentous day that lies ahead. The trip to the fish market, a popular cooking channel on the radio offering the recipe for the perfect fish curry, the trip to the barber; all offer glimpses into his regular life. The film also pays homage to old Hindi films through the songs playing on the radio while the machismo of Amitabh Bachchan makes one ponder about notions of masculinity in popular culture.

The hand-drawn animation brings to life Lalit’s turmoil while also portraying his relationship with his partner and expressing the love and companionship that they share. The choice of the dish is supreme as everything hinges on its preparation. The 2D animation lends an authenticity to Lalit’s emotions and experience while allowing us to empathize with his trepidation. 

The fish takes on different meanings as it is used as a symbol in the meticulously crafted film. Ultimately, Verma gives us an understated film whose nuances are as delicate as the dish itself.

The film has won several awards at festivals across the world, including the National award for Best Animation Film at the 65th National Film Awards.

The film is available for viewing for a limited period only at the Dharamshala Film Festival’s Viewing Room. Watch the trailer below:

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