Devi ★★★½

A short film with a strong social message with the high-profile actors ensemble.

Synopsis: The short film opens with women from various backgrounds who are confined in a room. It has representations from different classes – an upper-class chic , corporate executive in 30s, medical student, trio of middle-aged and older marathi women, young deaf-mute poor girl, a muslim burka-clad, and of course, the ubiquitous house-wife. What’s the catch? What is it that they share in common? The suspense will be revealed in the first few minutes itself but I would rather not spoil for you.

What works: This high-profile short film has a social message with an impactful climax. The climax is deeply unsettling. The performances from Neena Kulkarni and Yashaswini are particularly lively. Others also perform well. Doing justice to the assigned roles in such short duration was an amazing feat and I can’t point out any lapse from anyone in the cast. Kudos to the director and the whole team.

Also, kudos to Kajol. Having the big star in the short film is two-edged sword. The positive, it gives you an immediate publicity. The negative which happens quite often, is that the star hogs all the screen presence. Kajol in Devi, on the other hand shines not through her stardom but through her acting skills. More than the words and the star as we know her, her eyes reflect the sadness, the voice tone shows frustration at a level which is far ahead than any. Please watch and let us know of what you feel about the actors!

I highly appreciate the dialogue writing which helps such film take up such strong message without using any sensitive or abusive language. Everything in the dialogue is implicit. Enraging and saddening, but without explicit. Great work there!

Negatives: Now is the time to write negatives. Nothing major, but as I have hinted above as well, is the failure of the story to maintain the aura of suspense. In particular, there is a TV anchor who speaks in the first few scenes itself and we believe that was not necessary and gave out too much about story too early. It would be a very different feeling if the crux came out through the characters and their dialogues. Another minor thing is the soap-opera feel of the setup – it pops out as a Balaji production setup in the first look. 🙂

Overall: a good watch and I will recommend it to be watched by everyone. Men, women alike. The topic can be sensitive to young audience, but everything is implicit and hardly any abusive or sensitive words are used, so may be a PG (Parental Guidance) rating here?

AglaPlay Verdict: Worth a watch
AglaPlay Rating: 3.5/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: 12 minutes
Writer: Priyanka Banerjee
Director:  Priyanka Banerjee
Cast: Kajol (house wife), 
Shruti Hassan(chic),
Neha Dhupia (Corporate), 
Shivani Raghuvanshi (Medical Student), 
Neena Kulkarni, Rama Joshi, 
Sandhya Mhatre (three marathi women), 
Yashaswini Dayama (deaf-mute), 
Mukta Barve (Burka-clad muslim) &

Baatein ★★½

Filmfare nominated short film which tries to deliver a social message.

Synopsis: A young guy (Jeet) visits his friend’s mother (Mrs Deshpande). The two spend the day together accompanied by Mrs Deshpande’s niece, Tulika. They meet once again when Mrs Deshpande and Tulika visit Jeet at his home. The conversations among them and a cut-scene uncovers the sad past of their lives. Some of the talks is unsettling and uncomfortable to the participants. What is that past? Do these conversations help Jeet and Mrs Deshpande to look forward to the future?

What works: Portrayal of Mrs Deshpande by Supriya ji is very good. I remember her from hit TV series Tu Tu Main Main days and she has been an amazing actress in all her roles – so believable, so genuine. Baatein is no exception. The cinematography and music are good. There is also a social message which the film tries to deliver, so thumbs up to Adeeb.

Negatives: Sadly, the acting of the other actors – Adeeb and Sankalp – is simply not engaging. I mean, it is not that they are bad. It is just that I did not felt involved in the roles, neither I felt sympathy for the characters they portrayed. Shivani in the role of Tulika fits well, but there is not much for her to do in the story line. The story would have moved on without her being the third (or fourth) wheel. The impact that such a story should have on the viewers is missing. That spark, that raw connect one needs to create with viewers is amiss in this presentation.

Overall: It is a very average short film in my opinion.
Is there anything bad or unwatchable in it? No.
Should you spend 20 minutes to watch this? Ehh.. May be not. There are better films out there.

But don’t take my opinion alone. It was nominated for Filmfare awards, after all! Watch and let us know of YOUR opinion!

AglaPlay Verdict: A very average short film with a social message
AglaPlay Rating: 2.5/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: ~20 minutes
Writer: Adeeb Rais
Director:  Adeeb Rais
Cast: Supriya Pilgaonkar (Mrs Deshpande),
Adeeb Rais (Jeet),
Sankalp Joshi (Nishant) &
Shivani Raghuvanshi (Tulika)
Baatein: Mediocre at best

Purana Pyaar ★★★★½

A sweet romantic short film about a couple who found each other in the old age, and… ran away together!

Synopsis: Mrs. Sharma and Dev like each other and they want to be together. Like hundreds of the love stories, there families might not like it, and there is pressure to conform to social norms… But they still elope, together. The catch? They elope from an old age home!!

Our chitchat: After watching this film and the one before it – Khamakha – we are seriously thinking to add a new category – ‘soothing’ – in addition to traditional ones like comedy, thriller, satirical etc. which you regularly see on the review sites. After all, many a times, don’t we look out for entertainment just to sooth ourselves? Just to give us a break from all the hustles and bustles of the city? To find a corner away from daily activities? Purana Pyaar and Khamakha both have such a calming effect in this era of chaos and noise.

What works: This sweet short film has Mohan Agashe and Lillette Dubey in lead roles. The duo has acted very well, as is expected. Their simplicity in small things and actions bring the life in this short. The very small actions, as much as holding hands in a public bus is presented with such pleasantness. The slowness of the small town is captured not through words, but by the moving camera, narrow streets and leisurely walks. The short soothes you and while at it, gives you good music. As an added bonus, the scenic beauty of Dehradun is very well captured.

Negatives: There is no negative I could find in the movie except that it does not have any hook or a major climax or any suspense. Don’t expect it. We don’t expect it in our daily lives. Just watch and enjoy.

Verdict: Recommended for everyone.

AglaPlay Verdict: A soothing, sweet short film, must watch!
AglaPlay Rating: 4.5/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: ~20 minutes
Writer: Ambar Chakravarty
Director:  Ambar Chakravarty
Cast: Dr. Mohan Agashe, 
Lillette Dubey 
& Others

Khamakha ★★★★½

Winner of Filmfare Award 2017, this short film tells story of an encounter of a suave guy and a remarkable girl in a state transport bus.

Synopsis: Winner of Filmfare award in 2017, the film is about a sophisticated guy who has to travel on state bus. There is a girl on the adjacent row, who is reading a Hindi novel. The differences become more prominent as they converse with each other.

What works: Winning Filmfare award itself speaks loads, so I won’t be talking about the performances or the direction. What stands out in this film is the dialogue. The prattle between the two strangers who have very different outlooks is written well and performed better by the leads. Then they are also occupied with judgemental opinions about the other. The direction has excelled in bringing out these subtleties.

The music – the song ‘Khamakha: The Song‘ is soothing to ears and I listened it separately after completing the film. We needed such song after listening to Masakali 2.0 for 30 seconds! 😉

Negative: Nothing, well… there is nothing special about the film or, the journey whose story is depicted in the film. AglaPlay believes that this is what makes it special.

Verdict: The viewers would enjoy every movement of the film and it is so soothing!

AglaPlay Verdict: A soothing, sweet short film, must watch!
AglaPlay Rating: 4.5/5
Language: Hindi/English
Duration: ~17 minutes
Writer: Aarti Bagdi
Director:  Aarti Bagdi
Cast: Manjari Fadnnis, 
Harshvardhan Rane 
& Others
Khamkha: a trip which will refresh you

Laugh ★★★★

Short film contrasts three friends spending evening together in pre-mobile and current times, and tries to explore the real meaning of laugh.

Synopsis: Enacted by the best of the actors – Sanjai Mishra, Sheeba Chadda, Vrijesh Hirje & Brijendra Kala – the short movie highlights the contrast of pre-mobile days with today. It shows what the laugh should be. The trio of friendly neighbors are enjoying an evening together in 1967 and then the scene jumps to communication among same friends in 2016.

What works: The boorishness of the film actually works. The unmannerly conversations of three friends without any concerns whatsoever towards the sophistication is tear-jerking! The film is a must watch for a laugh and a reminiscence of older days.

The dialogues are also uncomplicated but are charming to the core. In the first few scenes itself, the play of words by Vrijesh with Sheeba will tickle you. There is also a joke which is central to the short film’s narrative. Please don’t expect much from it… It is just raw, lewd and disgusting, but still that joke and this whole film carries itself with such aplomb.

Parental Advice for Young Audience: Some parts of the movie are lewd and inappropriate for younger audience. Besides, the film might be irrelevant or ‘period’ for anyone who grew up in Whatsapp generation.

AglaPlay Verdict: A must watch, few pieces are inappropriate for younger audience
AglaPlay Rating: 4.0/5
Language: Hindi
Duration: ~8 minutes
Writer: Akshay Choubey
Director:  Akshay Choubey
Cast: Sanjai Mishra, 
Sheeba Chadda, 
Vrijesh Hirje,
Brijendra Kala &
Lateesha Dorik