Bollywood has tried their hand at sci-fi with middling results. Landmark films were Mr. India and Krrish. There were some duds like Love Story 2050, Prince, etc. So you can never know what the Indian film makers will come up with in the name of sci-fi – at least in India. Short films being the next big thing, film makers are looking at that platform to come up with experimental stories – and therefore Jackky Bhagnani comes up with Carbon, a sci-fi short film that stars him along with Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Prachi Desai.
Carbon tells the story of a man, Random, who has an artificial heart. He lives in the year 2038, when oxygen is a commodity and is bought and sold. Like everything else that’s transacted in life, even oxygen is smuggled and illegally bought and sold.
Because Random has an artificial heart, he is picked by a criminal to smuggle oxygen worth 40 crore. Random agrees. In a monologue, he says that he will buy a new heart from the commission that he makes from this deal.
Of course, like everything that’s liable to go wrong, this deal goes wrong creating problems for Random, who also meets an AI woman, from Mars.
What’s Wow: The idea’s good. We actually don’t have a desi version of a post-apocalyptic film. So, hindi dialogues saying that oxygen is a commodity and water is a product have the ‘we are cool’ factor. Yashpal Sharma and Nawazuddin Siddiqui perform well. Prachi Desai is welcome to the screen after such a long time. Jackky Bhagnani is growing as an actor, but he’s just reached adolescence, there’s a long way to go.
What’s Blah: What Carbon fails at, is a logical story and a screenplay. It tries the ‘me too’ idea with an female robot and a Martian and all that. However, the scriptwriters have failed to grasp the one important aspect in all sci-fi films – very little of the concepts shown are just for show value.
There’s simply no reason why Nawaz’s character is a Martian, other than the producer wanting to show him off in a blue spacesuit. He could literally come on be his character from Babumoshai Bandookbaaz. Then, there’s no reason why Prachi Desai’s character is a humanoid.
Indian film makers making sci-fi should realise that the essence of the sci-fi aspects is that these aspects move the plot ahead. Here, all these plot points are used to create a ‘oh so cool’ screenplay.
What is also irritating, in 2017, is the graphics. They look right out of a middling post 2000 FPS game, where the player will most likely be so engrossed in shooting aliens that they won’t bother about the quality of the background graphics.
Adding insult to injury is the final romantic track, which is again an excuse to have an open ended short film. We are not impressed.
Parting Shot: Indian audiences need more made-in-India sci-fi. But not this.
Cast: Jackky Bhagnani, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Yashpal Singh, Prachi Desai
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