MUMBAI — Ranbir Kapoor’s first-ever short film titled “Karma,” directed, written and edited by Abhay Chopra, grandson of the legendary B.R. Chopra, was screened at the Bandra Film Festival’s YouTube Channel May 5. The 26-minute short film was showcased under the ‘A Point Across’ category. The film revolves around capital punishment in India and is about a jailor who has to face the dilemma of performing the execution of his own son. The film was also nominated for Student Oscars.
Apart from Kapoor, the film boasted of character artiste Sharat Saxena getting top billing (obviously!) in the lead role/ central character of the jailer—when the film was made, Kapoor was unknown as an actor! Milind Joshi, Manoj Nair and Sushovan Banerjee featured in other pivotal roles.
Recollecting fond memories of the film and working with Kapoor, Abhay Chopra, who produced the film with his late father Ravi Chopra way back in 2004, said, “The year I made this film, capital punishment was a part of every prime-time debate and churned out scores of opinion pieces and cover stories. India saw the hanging of Dhananjay Chatterjee for the rape and murder of Hetal Parekh, which fuelled these debates. “Karma” is fiction but heavily inspired from reality.”
He adds, “If you notice carefully, the debate on capital punishment did not get over with the Dhananjay case, every crime that gets the national media’s attention almost always rakes up this topic. I have fond memories of directing Ranbir Kapoor, he had not even started his career back then, such an effortless actor. Acting really runs through his veins. Sharat Saxena has done a phenomenal job in the film and with such a powerful screen presence. I’m glad I could tell this story and that it is getting an extended viewership on Bandra Film Festival.”
Apart from “Karma,” this category also includes two more fabulous films. “A Thin Wall,” a feature length hard-hitting documentary on the memories attached with the Partition, directed by Mara Ahmed and co-produced by Surbhi Dewan, and “Backdrop,” a short portraying a patriotic glimpse at the Wagah border ceremony, directed by Nyay Bhushan.
Bandra Film Festival (BFF), a digital film festival presented by Filmkaravan in collaboration with YouTube not only helps filmmakers reach large audiences virtually but also helps viewers contribute funds to support the films and filmmakers of their choice.
The films are now live on BFF’s Youtube channel.
Watching “Karma” was sheer joy as a cinema lover for me. Short films as a way of life have been around for about four years now, but this is one of the best I have ever watched. Ranbir Kapoor showed his mettle and his genetic strength as an actor three years before “Saawariya” and we guess this must have been enough for Sanjay Leela Bhansali to have cast him. Saxena proved that is one of our finest, if quite unsung, character artistes. Dr. Achala Nagar’s dialogues (along with Abhay Chopra) were the highlight, especially the exchanges between father and son in jail.
A special word of praise is due to Athul Prashar’s background score, which electrifies the atmosphere, and I wonder why he is never heard of again in cinema. Ditto Abhay Chopra, who has barely done any creative work after this gem of a movie. But this is a lofty project from BR Films, that too in the lifetime of founder B.R. Chopra.