Dwijiri B Basumatary
New Delhi, 01 Sep 2021 16:00 IST
Updated: 02 Sep 2021 16:03 IST
The short has interesting ideas but fails to explore them meaningfully, ultimately coming off as a superficial exercise.
The short film, To New India With Love, made by "Emmy-nominated NRI" Tirlok Malik, is set in a college classroom. The professor, Dr Khanna, played by Malik himself, ends his class and the students walk out one by one. But one pupil remains. His name is Vijay (Aryan Pratap Singh), a young man who enthusiastically asks the professor for advice about getting a visa and migrating to the United States of America.
The short eventually devolves into preachy sentimentality, even seeming cheesy and desperate, as it tries to deliver the familiar message of patriotism and the horrors of India's brain-drain phenomenon.
Aryan Pratap does his best to essay the role of a cynical student and we get to understand why he thinks the way he does and why he is itching to leave India and settle in America.
The transitions from scene to scene are also a sight to behold though not always in the best way. The sparkling transition effect reminds one of the amateur short films edited by school students on Windows Movie Maker.
The scenes where the characters speak to each other are no better, unfortunately. The film, by this point, begins to resemble the unintentionally tacky 'educational videos' and skits seen on TV in the 1990s and early 2000s. Maybe the filmmaker has intentionally made these artistic choices to induce nostalgia, but this sounds unlikely.
Now the most important part of the story here is how Prof Khanna shows the beauty and promise of a young, enterprising India and how he takes the disillusioned Vijay under his wing. But we do not get to watch the professor mentor the young student, nor Vijay creating his start-up. Much of the 'meat' of the narrative is, ultimately, only revealed to us via text. This is the biggest flaw of the short film, which is chock-full of questionable execution choices.
To New India With Love, which is nine minutes long, doesn't feel very different from a propaganda piece meant to encourage ambitious and innovative Indian youngsters to remain in the country. The message itself is not a problem. The way it is delivered comes off as desperate and amateurish.
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