Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Directed by Santosh Sivan
Written by Rajesh Devraj
13 minutes, 50 seconds
Part of the AIDS Jaago (AIDS Awake) Series
Initially, I was set to find what I think is the impossible: a Bollywood short film. Instead, I came across these series of short films that acclaimed Indian directors worked together on. Mira Nair, Farhan Ahtar, Vishal Bhardwaj, and Santosh Sivan all made short films in order to make people aware of AIDS and HIV.
The film is straightforward and simple in its approach. Famous Indian dancer and choreographer Prabhu Deva leads as a truck driver who harbors an unknown stow-away in his cargo: a young child named Kittu who is in search of his mother. When they arrive in Mysore, they discover she is in the hospital in her final stages of AIDS. Kittu then reveals he cannot go back to school, because he has contracted HIV like his mother and father, and the school doesn't want him to return. The driver sets forth in making the school take Kittu back, and in the end, Kittu returns and is no longer shunned.
The common thread I heard with people who do not like foreign films is this: I don't like reading while I am watching. I personally don't understand why it's so difficult to read what is being said while watching something, but I can see how people who don't like text on their screen all the time are annoyed by subtitles.
So it benefits that this short film has a simple story to tell. With a short film and a straightforward plot, the need to make people ware of AIDS is done affective and comes across the screen well. This is because with a simple plotline like this, there really isn't much need to focus on the dialogue. The sentences are short, not dramatic, and not long. It's easier to follow along.
What also benefits is that the film is short. I think those who are not a fan of foreign feature lengths will like foreign short films better, because there isn't a lot of time in the film. It's short, to the point, and gets a plot told in a short amount of time, between a minute to fifteen minutes.
The only thing I find sad about the short film is that I feel like the plot is cliche and overdone. A boy going for his mother and finds out that she has AIDS -- and then we discover he himself is HIV positive -- hits the melodramatic cheese factor really high. It's still a cute short film, and it's effective demonstrating AIDS awareness is essential. However it's still predictable in its plotline.