In the 2019 Budget reveal, the cabinet put forward a vision for India to become a $ 5 trillion dollar economy. Despite the economic juggernaut that we are, the heart of India still resides in its small towns. This diaspora of people often carries its belief systems with it into the metros where they create a very unique mix of characters who live in the modern world and, yet, are very much rooted in the silly superstitions that had been imbibed in them through their families.
Writer and Director Shashwat Dwivedi’s short-film Paudha explores this idiosyncratic aspect of two families that come together through a marriage proposal. The film opens with Shravan being fed curd and sugar by his mother as if he were about to appear for an exam while his father tidies up his stubble for the “big day”. He quips to his son that this was no less than an exam. They are all going to meet the family which, if things go right, he would marry into. Later, when the families are engaged in small-talk, Shravan meets Aanchal, a beautiful, smart and outspoken girl who may be his life-partner. Despite their very different personalities, they strike up a chord and exchange numbers. With each day as their friendship blossoms, they become surer of the relationship and about each other. However, things take a weird turn when an obsolete superstition becomes a show-stopper in the marriage. As Aanchal’s family puts the marriage on hold, it falls on Shravan and his dad to fix this quandary.
Paudha strength lies in the way Dwivedi portrays the essence of a small-town mindset through the quirky trivialities that define all of us and the characters. Superstitions are so deeply integrated into our psyche that we don’t even notice them anymore, and they have become a part of us. Cinematograher Sourav Samanta’s captivating shots add yet another layer to the narrative and bring a lot of depth to the experience. Yash Raj Mishra’s score goes well with the overall feel, especially the track “Paudhon ke dhaagey”. Rishi Solanki as Shravan and Jaya Banerjee as Aanchal give measured performances, and their chemistry is very believable.
Stories like Paudha remain with us after we have watched them because they are so relatable. Even though it’s a short, the sapling it plants in your mind grows on its own and spreads a warmth that despite our weird beliefs, we are all humans in the end.
You can catch Paudha on YouTube by the end of 2019. Subscribe to AndaKurry Productions to get notified
About the Film-maker
Shashwat Dwivedi is a passionate 20-year-old film-maker from the small town of Kanpur who completed his film school in 2019. Since childhood, he has been fascinated with stories and in the various dimensions of story-telling. He took up Photography when he was 13 and has been an avid enthusiast ever since. He made his first short-film at 14 as a part of a workshop in his school. His stories usually revolve around human emotions, love and the trivial joys of life. For him, films are a way to bring people together. His aims for his work to be easily comprehensible, simple in its narrative and, most importantly, entertaining. It’s his childhood in Kanpur and other similar small towns of the culturally rich Uttar Pradesh that inspires his cinema.