Runtime – 40 min
Director – Abhijit Mazumdar
Two friends Sachin and Aurko are traveling into rural India, searching for locations for a small film they want to make. Sachin is a cinematographer and Aurko is a director. A bus stop with a special look is what they are mainly looking for. Difference in approach towards work starts stressing out their personal equation. Meanwhile Aurko claims to see an old villager, at several points in their journey. When Aurko tries to convince Sachin that the old man is a ghost, Sachin loses patience, leading to a fallout. The journey derails into the realm of unknown…
Sachin and Aurko are searching for a very particular kind of bus stop. They are film-makers, out on the road. Aurko climbs a hill, Sachin smokes some weed. Aurko drives them to the next village, Sachin smokes some weed. Aurko picks up a hitch-hiker, Sachin sees a ghost.
Abhijit Mazumdar’s film isn’t quite a road movie, though there’s plenty of driving. It’s not a ghost story, but one could plot a course between it and an appointment in Samarkand. It’s not a buddy movie, not least because Sachin and Aurko have a falling out. It’s not a drugs movie, but Sachin certainly suffers a few side-effects.
What it is, is good. There’s some good sound work by Amala Popuri, in particular a sequence where Sachin is located with the use of a mobile phone. There are at least three languages, Marathi, Hindi, and English, and the subtitles used across that variety are well constructed. There are some stunning sequences, abstract landscapes of pylons in the mist with that thick transformer buzz around them. There are more natural environments, water, rock, dust, trees. A road cuts through the hills, a man sits by the roadside. There is singing around a fire, electronic noises, music from Kanishka Sarkar that contributes to the shifting moods. The screen goes black.
As Sachin and Aurko, Aseem Hattangadi and Anand Tiwari convey a mixture of increasingly frustrated friendship and the camraderie of colleagues out in the field. As their trip continues, longer than they expected, and at 40 minutes long for a ‘short’, the film’s direction changes too.
It’s hard to say if it would work if it were shorter. It’s hard, too, to see what it could do with more time. It is clear that it’s a competent piece of film-making, albeit one whose folk-loric bias and experimental mien makes it hard to classify. The search is the thing, an approach – one might never reach the vanishing point, but one can look at it. As with the bus stop that motivates the journey, it’s worth seeking out.
Reviewed on: 12 Feb 2013