New Delhi, 17 Nov 2021 11:00 IST
Amrita Bagchi’s short film raises philosophical questions about human companionship and navigating loneliness.
Can you replace a loved one who is longer with you? Should one even try to replace a loved one? Amrita Bagchi’s short film Succulent goads us into thinking about larger philosophical questions through an examination of human affection, memory, loss and loneliness.
M (Merenla Imsong) loves her plants, almost to a fault. She has an unusual job; she works for a company that strives to make families whole again, by providing members who are not with them. M pretends or rather play-acts the role of the loved one who is missing, enabling people to feel better, even if it is for a few minutes. As M nourishes her clients, her plants become her emotional anchor to help her navigate the emptiness in her own life.
Bagchi’s skilfully crafted film evokes a dystopian future that explores the need for human affection and wonders if these emotions can be commodified and replicated in a commercial way. A grandmother tries to reconjure her granddaughter who lives far away, parents try to fill in the void left by their daughter, and a young woman tries to come to terms with her sister’s passing. Some customers crave companionship and love, while others try to grapple with their demons.
Merenla Imsong’s performance as the seemingly detached yet compassionate employee captures her character’s predicament beautifully. She tries to find her way in a surreal world, without losing her hold on reality and her humanity. The sparsely inhabited vast space of the office, the empty cubicles, talk of ratings and performance creates the ambience of a sci-fi film while commenting on the ways in which capitalism dehumanizes its workers.
In an increasingly detached world, where emotions take a backseat and everything can be bought if the price is right, Succulent, which has been written, directed and produced by Bagchi, gives us food for thought.
Succulent is being screened at the Dharamshala International Film Festival 2021.
Watch the film here.