Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films brings us ‘ Shunyata ’, a Chitan Sarda film that stars Jackie Shroff, Lekh Tandon and Machindra Gadkar among others. The film has two protagonists, one is Jackie Shroff as a hitman in Mumbai and Machindra as a young boy whose mother has been murdered. The young boy and the hitman strike a friendship in the dark streets of Mumbai and together decide to leave their life of crime and grime once and for all. What happens next forms the rest of the story.
What’s Wow: Jackie Shroff has still got it. He is one of the few actors who have an exciting backstory in real life. Born and brought up in the Teen Batti area, he has had his brush with crime and the Mumbai we don’t want to meet pretty early in life. That Chintan Sarda decides to take advantage of this real life resource is a casting coup – and entirely entertaining.
Jackie is the star who’s turning actor with films like Aurangzeb and now this. Machindra Gadkwar, his co-star is a treat to watch. The National Award winner stands toe to toe with Jackie. That this guy can make a scene with someone who’s worked in 220 films is an achievement in itself.
Chintan Sarda excels as a director. This film has everything that Mumbai has – the crime, the grime and the humor and humanity that act as a bandage. That this bandage is ripped from the wound as soon as it begins healing is another story.
Shunyata is a gritty storyline that’s balanced well with a quick-fire script. Sarda doesn’t waste his time with showing us what we have already seen a thousand times – the Mumbai skyline, the trains, the jhuggis, the slums, maybe Worli Seaface. No, Sarda brings to screen the humans, the specks of life that make all these places possible.
It’s difficult to make too many statements in a short film, but Chintan succeeds in providing a balanced picture of the city that’s Mumbai. The conversation between Jackie’s character and Lekh Tandon’s, who plays his father, is something that’s rarely done in short films, or even mainstreams. How many times have you seen a character saying that someone has had an evil streak in them all their lives?
What’s Blah: We couldn’t find anything wrong with this film.
Parting Shot: Shunyata is a great mirror to the world of Mumbai crime.
Cast: Jackie Shroff, Lekh Tandon, Machindra Gadkar
Director: Chintan Sarda
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