By Priya Bhattacharji

Christopher Nolan, Ben Affleck and Martin Scorsesse cut their teeth on them. Charlie Chaplin built a successful career through them. Collaborative story-tellers love them. Brands seek to build ‘bonds’ with their consumers through them. They are cinema’s most dexterous and democratic mode of presentation – Say hello to the SHORTS! An erstwhile marginalized lot; they are now fancied by an increasingly digital-savvy, information-hungry generation who binge on ‘bite-size’ viewing.

Short films are churned out with great enthusiasm {maybe not expectations}.Viral videos, student- thesis films, city montages, branded short films, music videos, and feature film-made-of-many short films – the structural fluidity of the short film has propelled its popularity. The all-pervasive social networks and the omnipresent “share” button ensure you stumble upon a short film now and then.

As curator of SHAMIANA, a short film club, the sheer volume of short films makes my head spin. Not all are interesting, or intriguing, or even watchable. Nevertheless, Delhi can proudly boast of having created some innovative, entertaining and critically-acclaimed shorts, largely made by filmmakers restricted by budgets, equipment and time. What stands out in most of the works is fervor and passion, regardless of financial incentive. From rib-tickling videos, to thought-provoking documentaries, short films surely have championed the undiscovered talent of Dilliwallahs. If you appreciate the aesthetic of ‘everyday’ in films, here are 5 short films from Delhi you must watch.

HOW TO DRIVE IN DELHI | Dir: Cult Camp; Dur: 4 min

A neat take on the anarchical and bewildering experience we are all familiar with –Driving in Delhi. The film borrows the step-by-step instruction approach from the “” videos to deconstruct the city’s ruckus on the roads. The deadpan voice-over provides absurdly funny explanations for the traffic scenario. My favorite – ‘Because of the large number of cars, the very popular game of Tetris was adopted as the model for traffic management …Cars play the first round, the second round is played by the bikers and scooterists. This united effort leaves no empty spaces on the road “.

The comments on the link are equally amusing. This one takes the cake – ‘Traffic is pathetic in Delhi, but this video is exaggerated and motivated by some Chinese propaganda agent, as is evident from the accent.’

TOUCHING STORY | Dir: Junkyard Films; Dur: 6.30 min

How many times have you come across those heart wrenching videos with a disclaimer “Very Heart-Touching story. This will surely make you cry?” Holds true for this one; except it makes you cry with laughter. Winner of Best Film, Best Actor, Best Writing, Best Use of Dialogue at The 48 Hour Film Project, Delhi {2011}, Touching Story explores the ‘touchy’ experiences of a security guard and its psychological roots. The somber voice-over works well in heightening its ‘mockumentary’ nature.

DOUBLE SHIFT | Dir: Amit Roy and Swati Bhattacharya; Dur: 4.30 min

This is a remarkably dialogue-light short film, which speaks volumes about Delhi and its ethos. It highlights the accommodating spirit of the city and the malleable identities of its inhabitants. It tracks the day in the life of a Muslim youth, while Delhi plays the supporting cast. The film has been officially selected at prestigious film festivals such as Toronto Film Fest, Vancouver International Film Fest and Miami Film Fest.

KAMERA | Dir: Purani Dilli talkies; Dur: 16 min

This short film is a slow-moving and charming story about a child rag picker and his fascination with a camera, pitted against his nagging mom. The film packs in some neat camerawork, with the camera attaching itself to the child’s movement. The dominant theme of this film is the shimmer-shatter cycle of one’s hopes and dreams.

NOTES FROM A BEAUTIFUL CITY {PHOTO-STORY} | Dir: Black Ticket Films; Dur: 9.30 min

Don’t the concerns and controversies of CWG 2010 now seem a distant memory? In case you’d like to re-acquaint yourself with them, watch this photo story made by then-fresh Jamia graduates, now National Award winning docu-makers. Through an ingenious use of voice-overs and still images, it captures the dark side of the pre-CWG gentrification rampage. Some serious thought-provoking stuff!

About the author | Priya Bhattacharji takes care of programming of various Shamiana chapters, and has been doing so since 2009. She pursues this as a hobby, while working as a brand strategist professionally.

Recommended For You:
Short Films from Delhi You’ve Gotta Watch | Part II
Notes from the 48 Hour Film Project

  • SAVE