Sweet and Sour | Ludhiana Short Film Meet


Deep Jagdeep Singh | Punjabi short film Ann’nahatey (Unbathed) ruled the first ever Ludhiana Short Film Meet organised in Ludhiana on this Sunday at a packed hall of Punjabi Bhawan. The impact was so strong the audience kept discussing the film even after the show was over. Twelevle films were screened during the maiden event with the duration of 1 minute to approx 20 minutes. It was the most disciplined and well organised event in Ludhiana history, for which organisers need a special appreciation. Ludhiana Short Film Meet is the brainchild of Pardeep Singh, an NRI film maker who is living in Ludhiana these days to explore new horizons in film making, supported by local social activists Harleen Sona and Ravi Deep. Under the banner called Our Space Cinema this trio presented the Ludhiana Short Film Meet at Punjabi Bhawan which showcased 12 Punjabi short films based on various subjects ranging from drug menace, Sikhism, deteriorating family relations, popular music industry trends and human psychology in our times. 

Pardeep Singh, Krishan Kamal, Nirmal Jaura, Balwinder Gill and Tarlochan Singh at Ludhiana Short Film Meet
Pardeep Singh, Krishan Kamal, Nirmal Jaura, Balwinder Gill, Tarlochan Singh at Short Film Meet -pic by Parnav Jassi
Before jumping into reviewing the individual films it would be right to mention that a short film has three basic ingredients inherited in it, First and foremost thought provoking concept, an engaging screenplay and presentation and last but not the least an impactful qualitative production value. If we gauge all the twelve films only two films were at par with the above said all three parameters.  

Journalist Charanjit Singh Teja’s film Ann’nahatey has the most thought provoking concept, a screenplay, which keeps you on the edge holding the chair arms tight and appropriate screenplay scheme and playtime. With these basic quality films takes the First Ludhiana Short Film Meet to its pinnacle and sets a barometer for the show. I must say it enhances the level of the show, which Rang Harjinder’s film U-turn sets in the very beginning. After this, with each and every film, the level of the show went downer and downer and finally at rock bottom till the end.
Teja through his film Ann’nahatey throws a torch light in dark areas of human psychology. Film shows three small time workers who live in a small rented down scale room and are struggling for their bread and butter in their day to day life. On an unwanted holiday they make a plan of merry making by having their favourite drinks along with their favourite chicken snacks as well as a hired ‘chic’ (escort) for a night rendezvous. Everything goes fine till they arrange the materials of their merry making, but suddenly when the time come to take turns with the escort their egos and caste supremacy comes in between.  To decide who goes in first they set a bet on card games while they keep the escort waiting in another room. Each contender plays the game with so much anxiety and the conviction to win that they keep delaying the game till dawn. With the dawn stroke the waiting hours of escort get over and she asks to leave. Thus, all the three paper tigers remain naked and unbathed. This film provokes to think and bursts the bubble of trivial egos in the minds. The big flip of this film was its editing at the points of transition. The black chunks interrupt the flow of the film and send a wave of irritate the eyes of the audience. 

A short film titled U-turn by Rang Harjinder tries to burst the bubble of duality in male dominated society, where ‘Ghar Ki Murgi Daal Brabar’ approach is adopted with full freedom. It touches the emotional cord embedded in husband-wife relationships. Though the storyline was so common and predictable, but powerful presentation, engaging screenplay and excellent production quality justifies the time spent watching this film and reminds us to reignite the flame of love and care in our relationships. 
Naqaash Chittewani’s Film Drugs, Mazaa, Sazaa Ya Kaaza talks about the drugs and its impact on family fabric, but this film trivializes the subject to flesh trade and fails to explore the human psychology. Though it tries to question the male dominance in family structure, but instead of showing a new path it reestablishes the patriarchy. It goes over to end on a pessimistic note which gives a bad after taste. Though Dhillon Jogi’s film Dhuan has a better production value and technically strong screen presence, but concept wise it lacks universality and caters to a small segment of the audience. Even the storyline and dialogues are not matured enough to leave any impact. This kind of sensitive subject needs to be handled with more profound manner without turning it into a preaching tutorial video. Like Satpal Singh Dugri’s Film Ehsas goes beyond being even a tutorial video, it looks like a video recorded in a class to revise the lessons latter. It simply lacks all core elements which a motion recording needs to be qualified as a film. 
Charanjit Singh Teja’s another two films White Fly and Sunday Ho Ya Monday only reports the two recent incidents, White Fly issue in Punjab’s cotton belt and Akhlaq’s Murder incident in Dadri. These two films clearly look like a news report covered by a news channel reporter added with his own interpretations. Teja can make better films if he gets out of journalistic shoes before he throws his bump on the director’s chair.
Tarsem Singh Sidhu’s film tries to mock modern Punjabi popular music with a sheer idealistic approach and lacks a substance which finally turns to be a recoded discussion on contemporary music scene. Its basic idea is based on comparison between contemporary Punjabi Music, old Punjabi music and classic Hindi music which instead of giving any insight related to the issue, only churns out a few laughs on various contrasting remarks.
Tarlochan Singh’s The Light has a thought provoking concept which revolves around drugs and family relations but lacks production value. Its screenplay needs more crisp editing and engaging presentation. Being an ace theatre writer and director who is known for his huge theatre productions, more strong concept based films are expected from Tarlochan Singh and his team in the future.
Organiser and film maker Pardeep Singh’s two films Chori and Trasdi doesn’t leave any impact because of low production value, uncooked concepts and immature screenplay. Though being his maiden shots these films might be taken as a practice ground. His zeal for creating a space for meaningful cinema in an industrial town was much appreciated by ace photographer Krishan Kamal, Director, Youth Welfare (PU) Dr. Nirmal Singh Jaura and office secretary Surinder Kailley during concluding remarks.
Films Intezaar and Munda were also showcased during the event.


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