An anthology of four short films by four different directors, each boasting of the makers' unique styles.
Short filmmaking is an art that not many have the potential to master. It is more often than not, looked at as a form of art-house cinema; something that has held back the power of its reach. This experiment by four of the best directors of the industry exploits that power in the best possible way; through an anthology.
'Bioscope' opens with a beautiful narration from Gulzar and then introduces us to 'Dil-E-Nadaan' based on Mirza Ghalib's poem, the story of Nirmaladevi Indori (Neena Kulkarni) and Mianji Sarangiwaley (Palshikar), two classical music maestros. The first thing that registers in your mind about 'Dil-E-Nadaan' is its exquisite art design and play of light. Each frame is worth looking at forever. The gramophone, harmonium, furniture, table fan; each has a quality that puts the viewer in the room with Nirmala and Mianji. The veterans are superb and display emotions ranging from reminiscence, nostalgia and restlessness to elegance, a never-say-die spirit and the quality of finding humour in the most difficult situations. Gajendra Ahire has taken his time to give the short a treatment it so deserves. If only he does the same with his other films, the result would be equally stunning.
From the stables of Viju Mane comes 'Ek Hota Kau' based on Saumitra's (actor Kishor Kadam) poem, the second short, featuring Kushal Badrike and Spruha Joshi. Not only does the film challenge the society's obsession to fairness but it also puts Badrike in an unfamiliar territory. The actor who is fantastic in his comic timing, plays the underdog Swapnil aka Kavlya who is in love with Paakli (Spruha) but lacks the confidence to express his love. The line that appears at the end of the short summarises 'Ek Hota Kau'; not fair, but lovely. A small drawback is that the cawing crows get irritating after a while.
Girish Mohite's 'Bail' which has its roots in Loknath Yashwant's lines, deals with a much graver issue; that of farmer suicide in the Vidarbha region. Much of the work is done by the story and Mangesh Desai as Panjab Sarkate an educated farmer frustrated at the pathetic treatment given to farmers, is bang on. He captures the essence of the story, the pain of toiling and the ridicule of the society. The final decision speaks it all.
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'Bioscope' closes with its most known story 'Mitraa' which is an exception as it is based on Sandeep Khare's poem as well as Vijay Tendulkar's story as opposed to the other three which are based solely on poems. Shot in black and white, Ravi Jadhav's short takes on a bold subject and exposes how, even after 67 years of independence, attraction towards the same sex is considered a taboo in our society. Apart from being about Sumitraa's (Jamkar) struggle to make her close ones accept her the way she is, it is also about Vinya (Khare) who is torn between friendship and love. Like Bail, the story does much of the work in Mitraa as well. It ends on an abrupt note but the subject has been dealt with beautifully.
On its surface, the film might not seem to have any common link but dig a little deeper and it opens a treasure of connections. Helplessness, no recognition or acceptance from the society, friendship, rejection and a struggle to make things right; 'Bioscope' is all this and more. It has Gulzar, narration, powerful performances from the best in business and beautiful poems weaved into hard-hitting stories. It combines the power of short films with the reputation of the directors to give something that is much needed in the industry; the scope for fearless experimentation. Come what may, don't miss this one.