Mumbai, 23 Mar 2021 16:28 IST
The Gujarati short film, co-written and directed by Ajitpal Singh, focuses on two young boys from different classes and a pair of shoes that comes between them.
Avinash (Yash Patel) and Bhushan (Shivam Math) are two young friends who bond over their shared love of football. The two enthusiasts are obsessed with the game like most kids their age. They discuss famous players and strategy, and love being outdoors.
Within minutes of Rammat Gammat, it’s clear that Bhushan is the more talented one while Avinash is the wealthier of the two. Bhushan usually plays barefoot or in his slippers but Avinash still can’t keep up with him.
One day, Avinash's brother (Dhruvpratam Tanwar), arriving from the city, gifts him many goodies, including a pair of orange football shoes. It is then we become aware of another striking dissimilarity between the playmates, as Bhushan is barred from entering Avinash's home since he is from a lower class. He watches from a distance before they set out to play.
The next day, the shoes, which were left outside to dry, are gone, and Bhushan is the prime suspect. Avinash is quietly devastated and seems a bit hurt. In school, once Avinash’s brother and father complain about the apparent theft, Bhushan is punished and sent out of the class.
The boys’ relationship is strained and even though neither one discusses it, the rift is visible. For Bhushan, the taunts hit harder as his father is in jail for theft. Children at this age can sometimes be unforgivably cruel and the rest of his classmates don’t hold back when it comes to the jibes at him and his family.
Despite the protagonists' seemingly unsurmountable conflict, Rammat Gammat, which loosely translates to fun and games, remains hopeful. The sweet friendship between Avinash and Bhushan has a strong bond that survives the betrayal. Like a game of football, wherein on the field, they can be rivals and friends off, the best friends rise above their differences.
Director Ajitpal Singh and his co-writer Yogi Singha pack in a lot in the 18-minute film, which silently observes the familial burden the two children carry. Keeping the dialogues minimal, they instead focus on external tensions.
Bhushan, who keenly feels the absence of his father, has to watch his mother (Swati Das) move on with another man. While Avinash, aware of his elevated status over Bhushan, is well aware of how his family really feels about his friend.
The child artists, who have never acted before, are a find and their faces are open books where the emotions their characters experience are visible.
Filmed in the monsoon season, cinematographer Tojo Xavier incorporates the rains as a character in the film. The greenery of the ghats of Wilson Hill, Gujarat, is vivid in the outdoor scenes. Sagar Desai’s cheery score is another plus point in this emotional short film.
Singh evocatively captures moments of young friendship where one incident can seem like the end of the world. But more importantly, the filmmaker keeps up a hopeful front where friendship always triumphs.
MUBI India is now streaming Rammat Gammat.
Related topicsMUBI India
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