Short Film Review: ‘Trivedi Ji’

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We may have spent the past year watching Rajesh Tailang in multiple web series, but he spent his lockdown in a much more productive way. He wrote and remotely directed a short film called ‘Trivedi Ji’. Teaming up with Vartika Tiwari, who co-wrote, starred in, and shot the film on her phone, the pair have made a charming story about life in lockdown. ‘Trivedi Ji’ is a small project with a lot of heart.

A young woman is stranded alone in her Mumbai apartment during the COVID-19 lockdown. Things seem to be going well as she settles into a routine, but soon enough she comes face-to-face with the severity of the situation around her. As she tries to cope with the fear and loneliness of the pandemic that is all too familiar, she finds a companion in her houseplant, who she lovingly refers to as Trivedi ji.

‘Trivedi Ji’ has been shot on a phone, which obviously comes with its own limitations. The sound quality, for example, is lacking but the film rises above its drawbacks. The cinematography is a delight, with some cleverly framed shots and nicely capture moments. The scenes of Tiwari dressing up and playing with her moon lamp are very pleasant to watch. The editing is well paced and fills the silences of the narrative, which is light on dialogue.

The crux of the film is Tiwari herself. As charming as Trivedi ji’s performance is, Tiwari is the one delivering the story and she does a great job. She is incredibly engaging as she goes stir-crazy in her own house, too afraid to step out. In the 15 minute runtime, we see her convincingly portray optimism, melancholy, paranoia, depression during different stages of her confinement. Tiwari manages to be both funny and dramatic, as needed.

The film holds your hand as it slowly descends into the doom and gloom of the lockdown. At a certain point you wonder, where is this going? Tiwari and Tailang, thankfully, find an unexpectedly amusing note to end their story on.

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