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Cinestaan Curates: Syaahi paints a subtle portrait of a child's innocent desire and its unintended consequences

/ 30min

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

Directed by Varun Tandon, the short film won a special mention at the 63rd National Film Awards

We often think about fulfilling our dreams but we seldom think about the price that our loved ones pay when we doggedly pursue them. The understated short film Syaahi [Ink] explores the predicament of a young boy, Vansh (Himanshu Bhandari), whose father (Gopal Dutt) is a writer. 

Vansh and his family live in a sleepy hill town. The boy's class is going on a trek but he cannot go due to his family's financial situation. The mother (Sariika Singh) reassures the son but the father has not sold the last three books that he has written and they need to conserve their resources. Disappointed at being refused every time, Vansh decides to take matters into his own hands. However, his initiative has unintended consequences and the boy sets about rectifying his actions.
An understated film, Syaahi captures minute details of the boy’s sensibility. Even though he puts on a brave face in front of his friend, making up an excuse in anticipation of the refusal by his parents, we know how crestfallen he is at not being able to go. He comes home to a short-tempered, frustrated father who lives in the fictional worlds he creates rather than the real one.

The film’s pace matches its languid environment but what keeps us glued is the young boy’s predicament. Most films explore children being thwarted by their parents when they wish to pursue their dreams but this film inverts that formulation. Innocent and sensitive, Vansh makes the father realise that an arduous journey becomes less so with the support of your loved ones beside you. 

Bhandari shines as a simple kid who does not mean any harm. This reviewer loved a scene where he is faking a stomach ache and his ache smoothly shifts from one side to the other when he is told that the appendix is located on the right side! How many of us used this trick as kids only to have no one fall for it!

Directed by Varun Tandon, Syaahi won a special mention at the 63rd National Film Awards and was released by Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films.

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Cinestaan Curates