Clouds of Monsoon Depicts The Effects Of Lockdown On Marginalized Communities

Clouds of Monsoon
Clouds of MonsoonKetan Kuril

The Covid-19 lockdown — the period when the entire world stopped. We have all moved on and barely look back at how testing the time was for so many of us. We're marching forward, into the new year with new aspirations, as if all our plans weren't threatened just a couple of years ago.

But for some it wasn't so easy and they're still just recovering from the impact the pandemic had on their lives.

Clouds of Monsoon, a short film by Mumbai-based filmmaker, Ketan Kuril is a story of those people. It's about a man who has been rendered unemployed for months due to Covid-19 induced lockdown in Mumbai, struggling to take care of his family. Even when his workplace opens up, he has to face the obstacles of public transportation that isn't allowing anyone but government employees to take the local train; the only affordable means of travelling.

The film had its world premiere at the 52nd Tampere Film Festival, made one of the Market Picks at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Market 2022, and was selected for the 19th Pacific Meridian International Film Festival, Vladivostok and 27th Kolkata International Film Festival among others.

Scenes from Clouds of Monsoon
Scenes from Clouds of MonsoonKetan Kuril

During the first wave of covid and lockdown in 2020, as the pandemic was evolving, Ketan in his locality saw how people without social security lost their livelihoods and were struggling to even get decent food for their family. More importantly, the lockdown had overturned even the slightest social progress made by the people belonging to a marginalized community, which had taken generations to achieve, like the protagonist Mahesh, for example, who after a long struggle was able to switch from his caste-designated job of cleaning sewers to tailoring.

The filmmaker learned about the thousands of people who were using fake IDs to catch the train to work in desperation, getting caught, fined and even jailed for more than a month. He also interviewed the lawyer who had taken up one of the fake ID cases. Initially, he wanted to make a docufiction or documentary but wrote and directed a short film about the issue instead.

A still from Clouds of Monsoon
A still from Clouds of MonsoonKetan Kuril

Apart from a few theatre artists, Ketan and his team used non-actors whose life parallels the life of characters in the film. They planned on shooting the film in March-April of 2021 to avoid the monsoon but because of another wave of Covid, it was delayed to June. The monsoon also inspired the title; representing the gloomy nature of the subject explored in the film.

The team faced many difficulties in shooting as they wanted to use static long wide takes for this film to explore the temporal and spatial aspects of the medium of cinema and to get as close to reality as visually possible. But with minimal control on the environment and even less on the weather, the production was a tricky one.

Clouds of Monsoon is about just that; a dark cloud looming over the common man who just can't catch a break. I remember all the interviews of artists who were grateful for the 'time-off' during the lockdown that gave them a chance to 'slow down', and get into their creative space with no distractions. It sounded so wonderful, as if the pandemic had given us a much needed retreat. Contrasting that with this film has left me with a very unsettling feeling of dystopia. It's wild how the effects of this event are the polar opposite on people, solely based on their social status and resources.

Clouds of Monsoon depicts the relentless loop of struggle marginalized communities face against an order of the world that moves without any consideration for them.

You can watch the trailer below.