Short Film: ‘Sneh’ is India’s epic crime caper

29 . May . 2017
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Crime, that great genre that inspires makers of all fiction, movies, books, television series, and now, streaming media. Everyone is attracted to a crime film, whether it’s a whodunit or a crime caper. However, not many people make it because of one wrong step, and they run the risk of insulting the intelligence of the audience. So, Scoop Whoop’s Sneh is a daring, interesting film and a fore bearer of Indian crime fiction on many levels.

A family, comprising of a mother, son, daughter-in-law and the granddaughter is devastated when the son disappears. The police are baffled – after all, a man has disappeared overnight – a police havaldar, at that. As the film progresses, it shows what has been shown umpteen times, the helplessness of the police, the nagging neighbors, the niggling questions that everyone has when a being disappears all of a sudden.

But Sneh is much more than just the story of a man disappearing in the middle of the night. It is about the dark underbelly of an under protected and untold world that we live in, women live in. It is about people who have no respite and no option but to take that step from which there’s no coming back.  It is about the fact that there’s no perfect crime, that crime seldom, if not never, pays.

The film introduces us to a new kind of criminal – the ones who were forced to commit a crime because they had no other option. But in the same vein, the film also staunchly, strictly, tells us that there’s no redemption for those who take someone else’s life. That’s the weird logic of the world we live and love in – and nobody told anybody that the world is a fair place to live in.

What’s WOW: ‘Sneh’ is a lesson in the art of perfect film-making for everyone who’s trying their hands at short films. The Indian short-film market is cluttered with films that go for symbolism and depiction of violence – terming it as a necessary evil.

The understated manner in which Sneh portrays the vile incidents of the film is what interested us the most. This is a director who didn’t need a cuss word sequence, he didn’t need the protagonists or the antagonists to have a liquor laden diatribe.

He didn’t even require a scene with nudity. Let’s be clear, the concept that the film deals with could have been the sleaziest, corniest and the most controversial film that’s ever hit the Indian – or even foreign – screens. But we applaud the script-writer and the director for keeping the sensibilities of mature film-making intact while revealing a stunning story that has the audience trying to grasp at the audacity of it all.

Armchair critics will cry ‘Fargo’ as they see the film. But we need to realise the difference between localisation and imitation of a concept. The concept of loved ones doing away with their spouses and family members is as old as the hills. It is the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ that should engage the audience. And ‘Sneh’ does that.

The screenplay gives what could be one of the best and most unforseen twists in streaming films. The non-linear screenplay works well to increase the intrigue. What begins as a ‘dekh-lo-kya-hota-hai’ film turns into a pretty good crime caper.

On the performances front, Poonam Mathur as Shanti, the mother-in-law is a revelation. We wonder how many other performers are yet to be revealed. Others play their part well

What’s Blah:  We would like to think that the loopholes are there to give out the statement that ‘crime doesn’t pay’, so we won’t call them up as blah. However, the performance of the lead character, ‘Sneh’ Simran Tooray could have been better. Especially in the pre-climax sequence, she gets a bit hammy, which takes away from the experience that’s the film.

Parting Shot: Sneh brings back our faith in short films being a great way to tell untold stories .

Cast: Simran Tooray, Poonam Mathur, Siddhima, Yudhvir Dahiya, Sachin Kathuria, Sushil Dahiya, Pooja, Vasavi Ginodia.

Written By: Kunal Aneja

Director: Amit Malik

Duration: 22:00

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