There is a saying among Indians – that there are two facets to India. One is the urbane, fast moving, positive India and one is rural India, full of emotions, simplicity, but also an adamant decision of not opening to change. Since the beginning, both these facets have interested the people who live on the other side. Villagers throng to catch a glimpse of city life in their films and the urban crowd rushes to multiplexes to see how ‘their villages’ are. While most of these are simply simple, saccharine films that are tailored to leave a lump in the throat and a grin on the face, some films – short films – decide to give a cinemascope view of the great Indian divide – that isn’t just dangerous but lethal many a times. One of those films is The Manliest Man.
The film begins with a village chief coming up with an absurd idea to solve the problem of a potter who has two daughters – a man from the village will now ‘help’ his wife give birth to a son. The audience takes a moment to understand the absurdity of it all, and it takes a moment for us for it to sink in that this is not a comedy show, this is a real, true to life short film. The film tackles everything that curses progress in rural India. The demonic reach of society into a family’s personal life is there for all to see. The shameless dance that casteism plays in rural India is for all to see.
What’s Hot: In all this, it is a marvel that the director decides to create such strong characters. Characters played by some immensely talented individuals. The Manliest Man has a deep rage under it that just grabs the audience’s attention. Maybe that’s what makes this screenplay so intense. The Manliest Man could be one of the best short films to release this year.
What’s Blah: While the film is an intense one, the screenplay could be a little confusing for the audience, as the pivotal point of the script seems to be introduced out of nowhere and in a rush.
Parting Shot: A must watch for every Indian, this one is an eye-opener.
Cast: Indira Tiwari, Mukesh Pachode, Yogeeta Yadav, Yogesh Tiwari, Ram Chandra Singh
Director : Anuj Gulati
Screened at Jio MAMI 19th Mumbai Film Festival by Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films
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