Indian Short Films depicting Future — Mostly Dystopia
I have been fascinated by the short films whose lenghts are maximum 20–30 mins long which provokes feelings and thoughts after watching them. While watching many short films on YouTube, I have found out really interesting short films which depicts future and bring in technology driven outputs as well.
This led me to make a list of short films which may either depict dystopian world or utopian from the Indian perspective.
1. Carbon | Directed by Maitrey Bajpai and Ramiz Ilham Khan
Featuring Jackky Bhagnani, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Prachi Desai, and directed by Maitrey Bajpai and Ramiz Ilham Khan, the short film “Carbon” identifies the repercussions of pollution on human life in Delhi 50 years from now.
Movie is set in 2067; “Carbon” takes on a subject of prime national importance focusing on the prevailing environmental issues in Delhi. The film’s plot foresees the impact of high levels of pollution.
Showcasing scarcity of oxygen and water and its adverse effects on the environment and the forthcoming generations, this futuristic film portrays a scenario where there will be a dearth of oxygen, and only carbon will prevail. Giving an insight into the war-like situation that can occur, “Carbon” aims to draw viewer’s attention to the grave problem that today’s society chooses to ignore. It talks about how oxygen will become a product in 50 years if these issues are not resolved, giving rise to unrest and violence amongst human beings for survival.
In the dystopian future of 2067, Random, played by Bhagnani, a desperate man with an artificial heart, undertakes an illegal oxygen deal that goes wrong. Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the role of a man from Mars, Yashpal Sharma essays an oxygen smuggler and Prachi Desai plays the role of Pari.
2. Anukul | Directed by Sujoy Ghosh
What happens when a machine starts questioning our ways of the world?
Anukul, is the story of a man who hires an android as his housekeeper. The constant conflict between man and machine forms the premise of this film. The film is adapted from a short story that was originally written by Satyajit Ray.
Adapted from Satyajit Ray’s story of the same name, Anukul is the story of a man who hires a robot-human for his daily chores. The robot looks like a human, acts like one and at times even thinks like one but in the race between technology and ‘dil’, the humans will always have an upper hand.
The film begins with Nikunj (Saurabh Shukla) trying to buy a technological product and inquiring about its functionality. The audience is slowly let into this universe and we’re told that the product he’s buying is actually a human-android who can be employed as a house-keeper. We are told that there are no overtime charges and he doesn’t even take any weekends off. Who wouldn’t want a robot of this nature? The film is set in a dystopian future that maintains its realism by way of showcasing the surroundings as we know them today, but futuristic it is. The android-humans are starting to take over all kinds of jobs that earlier employed humans. Of course, they are robots who don’t take any weekends off. Who wouldn’t hire them? The social unrest against the robots is rising. There are protests being held against them by the humans but it feels like an inevitable change that is taking over the society. In many ways, this feels like the beginning of the industrial revolution. The change that was here to stay but wasn’t welcomed by our kind.
Anukul, the android, (played by Parambrata Chattopadhyay) is an innocent looking ‘man’, who loves to read and is fascinated by the collection of books at his employer’s house. His machine doesn’t sleep and so he spends all his free time reading. But his reading isn’t just mechanical, he knows how to interpret and that makes him better than most humans. Anukul and Nikunj’s conversations feel like a student-teacher relationship. Their discussion over The Gita and Dharma is well-utilised and serves the larger plot as well.
Sujoy Ghosh utilises every second of this 21-minute film to his advantage and adds value by giving a story arc to his three lead characters, Nikunj, Anukul and Ratan (played by Kharaj Mukherjee). The two human characters are as flawed as the rest of us and the android, though a machine, doesn’t feel stuck to his robotic ways. His constant evolution in the short film gives the audience an insight into what the future could hold for this universe.
The short film makes one think about the possibilities that are on the verge of becoming a reality and Ghosh’s haunting tone in some parts of the film leaves you with an eerie feeling. It makes one wonder that if this is the future we’re actively stepping into, then the race for survival is going to turn even more brutal but only for those who are not willing to welcome it.