Homegrown Short Film 'Anaar Daana' Depicts The Complexity & Innocence Of Childhood Grief

Anaar Daana beautifully captures the power of togetherness in the face of loss.
Anaar Daana beautifully captures the power of togetherness in the face of loss.Nishi Dugar

The opening scene of Anaar Daana washes over us with a wave of serene blue. A young girl, Guddal, in a dress the color of a summer sky, enters a room bathed in the same calming hue. The silence is not an absence of sound, but a pause, laden with the promise of both tranquillity and a coming storm. This blueness sets the stage for the film's exploration of childhood innocence colliding with the harsh realities of life, specifically, loss.

Guddal's world, initially, is one of playful mischief. The low-angle shots immerse us in her perspective; a child's-eye view of a world where furniture towers over and adults seem like giants. Her laughter and innocent naughtiness fill the blue space, creating a sense of idyllic peace. It's a peace, however, tinged with a melancholic foreshadowing, hinted at by the calmness of the film's pace and the gentle sounds that punctuate the silence.

Anaar Daana
Anaar DaanaNishi Dugar

Then, the inevitable happens. The blue serenity is shattered by the sudden intrusion of death. The film masterfully portrays the impact of this event on each character, particularly through Guddal's innocent lens. She witnesses grief in its various forms, the bewilderment and pain mirrored on her face as she tries to grasp the enormity of what has transpired. The rituals surrounding death, alien and confusing to her young mind, further add to her disorientation. Through the lens of coming-of-age, the film delicately unfurls the delicate balance between the purity of childhood and the harsh realities of life's darkest moments.

But it is here, in the throes of confusion and loss, that Anaar Daana shines. The film doesn't shy away from depicting the raw emotions of a child grappling with mortality. We see her frustration, her anger, and ultimately, the dawning realization of the finality of death. This is where the film's title, 'Anaar Daana', which translates to 'Sour Candy' takes on deeper meaning. Just as the sourness of the candy masks its sweetness within, grief, too, is layered with complex emotions.

Yet amid the darkness, Guddal finds solace in unexpected places. The film beautifully captures the power of togetherness in the face of loss. As her siblings, her elder sister, Chinu, and younger brother, Ladoo, come together in the wake of tragedy. A sense of community emerges, offering Guddal a lifeline amidst the storm. The sharing of grief, like the sharing of the sweet and sour 'Anaar Daana', becomes a form of healing and acceptance.

Nishi Dugar, the writer, director, and producer of the film, makes her debut venture with Anaar Daana, providing evidence of the power of storytelling in processing personal experiences. The director's note unveils the intimate genesis of the film, rooted in her contemplation of her own childhood experience of grief. Drawing from her own experience, the director sought to delve into the intricacies of loss through the lens of childhood innocence.

Anaar Daana not only explores the complexities of grief but also serves as a deeply personal reflection for its director. Making its debut at the 74th Berlin International Film Festival, the film is a work of immense love and unwavering dedication.

Related Stories

No stories found.