Star Cast: Anshulika Kapoor, Deboprasad Halder, and Sounak Sen Barat.
Director: Prataya Saha.
Language: Bengali (with subtitles).
Available on: In The Festival Circuits Now.
Runtime: 10 Minutes
Shonar Khacha Review:
Ever walked through the lanes, still having intact the structures from the past? Of course, the iconic South Bombay stretch for us Mumbai folks. Ever thought what story they tell? What evolution they have seen and been through? Do we respect them enough? Shonar Khacha, roughly translating to a golden cage, is an allegory where a claimed but ideologically abandoned ‘once a palace’ is now a house that wants to scream its tale while the world around it is fast ready to eat it up.
Filmmaker Prataya Saha, who is fast becoming a concrete voice in the short movie format circuit with his films, has always thrived on telling stories of longing. A women longing for love in all forms (The Good Wife), another longing for a place in the world and a refuge (Just Another Day), a man longing for his youth while struggling with a language (Mein, Mehmood), and now the longing of a house and the people living in it both craving prosperity of some sorts.
Sonar Khacha written by Saha, is about a family that is debt-ridden, and the easiest solution most of them can see is selling of the house and earning a good fortune. But what about the history this place has seen? Not just that of the once who lived before but even the one who breathe now? The 10 minutes scale their lives as the cinematography by DOP Subha Dey takes you through this now-falling palace and makes you imagine the glory it must have once showered in, in its hay days.
Acting performances by Anshulika Kapoor, Deboprasad Halder, and Sounak Sen Barat are haunting and impressive. They manage to create the tension together and that works. The music does the much needed job of adding a layer of nostalgia.
The conflict between the family members and the tension between them leads to some drastic decisions, and the human drama is very intense here. The only thing that bothers me much is the drastic decision a character makes that involves death. Now this could have worked if we might have spent some more time with the characters, but our attention is more on the ruins of their life and the house, and the present just acts as a catalyst.