LitSoc Short Film Making this time saw a general increase in the professionalism of the films with most of the hostels learning from past experiences. Many seem to have realized the folly of using poor digital cameras, different cameras, poor sound mixing and so on. Most of the entries showed a shift towards using background narrations more than live dialogues, effective sound mixing and quite a few used some very awesome special effects. So along came the results on Drams day. What follows is a review of the movies in the order in which they placed. Be forewarned, you may think that these views are biased. Its probably because they are.
Saras’ Memory : Saras once again turned in a professional and captivating movie. It follows the tale of revenge of a bereaved man (Lolly) who seeks to kill his lover’s (Sh-arasite Vaaruni) murderer (Pojo) on his own terms. With mostly solid acting by Pojo, decent cinematography and editing (IP) and the by now old hand Lolly scoring the music and providing the narration they manage to keep the viewer hooked. Of course mixed in are ‘a twist in the tale’, voices in people’s heads, Morrison and Boyd on quite the wrong page, an ice dagger and dramatic dialogues. On the flipside there were a few logical oversights with Lolly’s ethereal voice permeating the room with no basis at all and the reason for the killer taking his own life, the ‘insufferable pain’ if you will not being very clearly portrayed. But all in all, once again Saras impressed and deserved to be one of the top hostels.
Alak’s Face on the Wall: This adapted movie follows the story of a slightly homo-erotically charged Lib Vol (Ashwin) who reads Sidney Sheldon thrice finds a face(Slicer) on his Libs’ Wall, believes him to be his true compane-ion, can’t bear to be apart from him for a few days and goes on a quest to find him. Except for the initial and end sequences which had an extremely ‘manufactured’ and artificial feel the acting as such wasn’t half bad. This feel was only enhanced by one of the actors signaling ‘cut’ to the cameraman at the end of the first scene. However the lack of music, the not so realistic dialogues and the very standard fixed camera angles somehow do not manage to keep the viewer gripped. “Oh! Wait I see writing on the wall. It says, it says … How did Alak place?”.
Sharav’s The Butterfly Effect: From the annals of chaos theory comes this movie which represents two (three, for a brief part) parallel universes if you will. The basic storyline follows a wannabe actor (Saudamini) who has stage fright and her attempts at auditioning for a role. The manner in which she throws her prop (a rose) after the audition affects the outcome of a lovers’ spat. The next sequence describes how her drinking a little too much water changes the entire outcome of everything. However why the girl sees a rose on the road and suddenly decides to accept to her boyfriend’s proposal remains a mystery and so does the directors’ preference for an actor with stage fright. The movie has good acting, trippy sound tracks and decent cinematography and editing.
Godav’s The Second Chance: Attempting a graphic novel through their short film Godav came up with quite an interesting movie. The story showcases a washed up Superhero (Sayash) and a recently released Super Villain (DS) who wants to rekindle their rivalry. Their pretty short movie was completely bereft of spoken dialogue and had very aptly chosen sound tracks. The camera work was also pretty impressive and the effect o the graphic novel setting was pretty effectively recreated. One flipside of the movie was the slightly, well to put it in insti terms, ‘undi’ dialogues. (in speech bubbles). There were quite a few grammatical errors and somehow they lacked that punch in them. Especially in the last scene, where the title “Second Chance” is introduced. A little attention to this might have made it one killer movie. Altogether, a novel concept and fair implementation.
Pampa’s Karma: Pampa’s SFM was, in many people’s opinion, quite good. There were accusations that the plot was startlingly similar to a Chetan Bhagat story, but we feel that that was untrue: Stealing a question paper from a prof’s room, is something we’ve all dreamt about, some of us attempted, and a rare (lucky) few accomplished. Their background score was suitable, the cinematography was not bad, but their story had the usual insti ‘twist in the tale’. But wait it had ‘twists’. With the double crosser (Lokda) being double crossed to the background of bhangra, the last scene was fun. However all logic seems to have been ignored and how his friends’ anticipated the double crosser’s treachery is the true mystery. Perhaps with more powerful actors and erm.. a bit more of a logical storyline it could have made a greater impact.
Tapti’s We the Students: A documentary on the ‘activities’ of an IITian Tapti went for the social responsibility angle. With trippy math, shady subtitles and wing video footage it was quite a watch. However the story just meandered on and wasn’t truly representative of IITian life. The point of the movie seemed somehow lost. What they expect to achieve is not clearly defined. The sound track was one very well chosen track and actors (well they actually just featured for like 15 sec each). Could have been a lot better is our verdict.
Mandak’s Pickle: Mandak was one of the best entries. It was a storyline that was politically correct to be hated and laughed at. ‘How lame’ went some arbit freshie girl behind this correspondent. A break up causing somebody (Siddarth) to kill himself? The point was the story made one feel. In spite of the sometime artificial sounding dialogues you get what the movie is trying to say. You feel the characters’ anguish. There is even an anti suicide message thrown in for good measure. The acting was solid from both Siddarths and Soniya, except perhaps a touch over dramatic in places. The music was very well chosen and the camera work and editing were excellent. This was a brilliant movie and was one of the clear favourites.
Ganga’s A Story: Ganga’s SFM = (A standard issue Tamil movie) – (Heart Rending ending) – (Good looking actress) – (moustached hero) + (forlorn freshie). It portrays a story about three friends, who were the epitome of ‘chaddi dosts’, and promise to meet up years later at the Lake. The ending was a little confusing, with no major twist/conclusion. Kudos to Ganga for getting three KV students to act quite convincingly in their SFM! There were some allegations that they had more than 2 non-hostel people as the main characters in their play, but this wasn’t completely valid. Overall, another SFM entry.
Narmad’s Crossroads: The strong point of Narmad’s movie is their effects. Some of the sequences are simply put, awesome especially the last sequence with the cloned dancers and the frozen characters. However they seem to have forsaken the storyline’s development for the sake of these effects. With the sound track obviously missing in parts it is difficult to understand the plot. The story follows one man’s (Seven F) weed induced out of body experience and his perspective on the world there after. With hazy reveries, stupors hallucinations and out of body experiences points to them for the novel concepts in several scenes. The camera-work and the editing (Faheem) were excellent. The music (wherever present) was well chosen and the acting was passable. Mixed responses to this one, but kudos for the effects and the effort.
Jamuna’s The Escape: In the opinion of many Jam’s two man movie (Pony and Manchy) was the best SFM entry of this year. However Jam could not render the movie on time and had to submit it in two large chunks coming up to 16 GB which for some reason offended the judge who saw fit to place them last after Narmad. This review is of the completed version. The movie follows the drug induced escapades of a guy (Pony). The effects were psychedelic; mindboggling which was the point really. Though in the end the actual storyline becomes hazy with people smiling into the camera and what actually happened remains a mystery the lead up to it is portrayed captivatingly. The acting (we hope it was) is solid and the sound mixing (Pony), superb. Hats off to Manchy and Pony for conceptualizing and making this one.
So that was LitSoc SFM. The judge apparently was ‘dissatisfied’ with the size and theme of Jam and Narmad while why he chose to ignore Mandak, still, remains a mystery.